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  • Elizabeth Phillips

How the Lack of Women’s Education Has Led to Poverty in Zambia

Zambia is a Sub-Saharan country located in the heart of Africa. Although Zambia’s population sits at a mere 17 million, 64% of those people currently live below the poverty line. These people have resorted to cultivating and living in their own slums with unsanitary water, unemployment, and little to no access to health care. These statistics are projected to get worse with the United Nations expecting Zambia’s population to increase by 941%. Many attest this overpopulation to be the direct result of the lack of education/family planning with young girls and the lack of financial gain and stability amongst women. These are the top reasons why discrimination against women has led to Zambia’s economic downfall.

  1. Marriage Expectancies: Girls are expected to get married at a significantly young age in Zambia. Due to this expectation, teenage pregnancies are normal for a Zambian girl. Three out of every ten girls from ages 15-19 have either already given birth or are currently pregnant.

  2. Rape: The slums where people reside are close in quarters. Men and Women sleep, eat, and live on top of one another in these small spaces. Due to this and a lack of consent education with males, rape has become a commonality leaving women and young girls susceptible to exploitation.

  3. Lack of Contraceptives: Those below the poverty line have little to no access to contraception. It has been reported that 59% of males in Zambia choose not to use a condom while practicing sexual intercourse. Poor women in Zambia tend to have more than eight children, whereas wealthy women tend to have fewer than four. The lack of healthcare facilities for men and women in the slums has resulted in the divide between the overpopulation amongst the rich and poor.

  4. No Potential Burdens: While American’s view large families as “more mouths to feed”, Zambians view it as more children to take care of them when they’re old. They view large families as a blessing rather than a potential burden they cannot financially support.

The empowerment of women is vital to reducing the amount of poverty in Zambia. Girls in school need to be taught about family spacing and having the number of children they can financially take care of. The children of Zambia have seen the mistakes of their parents, and are pushing for a safe and manageable population increase, but more needs to be done to fully eradicate this issue for the coming generations.


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