Though women will outnumber men their quality of life is not expected to improve. Between 1980 and the year 2000, the number of illiterate women in the developing countries is projected to increase from 491 million to 552 million. The number of illiterates will decline in Latin America and the Caribbean while the increase will be in Asia and Africa.
The report says that women constitute the majority of the world’s poor. By 1975, 29 per cent of the world’s women were working outside the home compared to 53.8 per cent of men. Women lag behind in modern sectors, such as industry and education.
The relationship between high fertility and female employment is a vicious circle: employment outside the home contributes to low fertility; but high fertility often prevents women from taking up employment.
In countries where participation in the modern sector is low, reproduction rates can be three times greater than in countries where a substantial proportion of women is involved in modern industry.
Education, according to the report, is the key to changing the condition of women. It has been found to lead to greater use of contraceptives. But this has to be matched with the availability of family planning services.