Brazil's Girl Power

The birth rate in Brazil has dropped to historically low levels. The average number of births per woman is now just 1.9, and the drop has been quite steep for the past 50 years. What happened? In this predominantly Catholic nation, families of ten or more children were once common, but now Brazilian women say "A fábrica está fechada," meaning the factory is closed.
"What took 120 years in England took 40 years here," [Brazilian demographer José Alberto] Carvalho told me one day. "Something happened." At that moment he was talking about what happened in São Vicente de Minas, the town of his childhood, where nobody under 45 has a soccer-team-size roster of siblings anymore. But he might as well have been describing the entire female population of Brazil. For although there are many reasons Brazil's fertility rate has dropped so far and so fast, central to them all are tough, resilient women who set out a few decades back, without encouragement from the government and over the pronouncements of their bishops, to start shutting down the factories any way they could.

National Geographic lays out six reasons for the relatively sudden empowerment of Brazilian women, some that are also affecting other nations. One of those reasons is television. Link

(Image credit: John Stanmeyer)

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Thaxted, I've notice all my life that if someone around my age is the youngest in the family, they probably have a lot of siblings, but if they are the oldest, there's only two or three. I was born in 1958.
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I was born in 1959, the first year of the Pill. Most families on my block had four or five children. A few had children born one or two years after me and then no more were born. The Pill gave women the power to say no and yes.
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