The lottery of birth
The lottery of birth

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The lottery of birth

3.2.1 The changing lives of girls

The statistician Hans Rosling has some interesting and controversial ideas about the changes to the world population that are happening now and about those projected, by some, for our future. In this video, he describes how world fertility levels have dropped from an average of 5.0 in 1963 to an average of 2.5 in 2013. In most places around the world two children are becoming the norm.

The Khan family are responding to the changes related to population and gender in their own lives. This can be highly advantageous to girls and women.

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_birth_vid_1027.mp4
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Here we are back in Bangladesh. Let's find the reasons behind this historic and continuing shift from large to small families.
Almost all the girls in Muslim Bangladesh, like 15-year-old Tanjina, go to school today. The government now even pays families money to keep their daughters on at secondary level. At Tanjina's school, boys are now outnumbered by girls.


You could hardly miss the point of this lesson. Education is effective. And there are also new opportunities for Bangladeshi women. Despite continuing inequalities, there are more jobs. And Tanjina is aiming high.
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So today, men and women are making reproductive choices not just on fiscal circumstances (their own and what the state is prepared to offer) but on changes to women’s lives (such as employment), and men’s lives (such as their involvement in parenting), and the availability of employment to both genders. And, as this video makes clear, many parents, as they have always done, project upon their children their hopes for their future and that of their country.

In the next section, you’ll consider how the lives of girls have not changed.


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