Sustainability and population growth in the context of globalization: A postcolonial feminist social work perspective
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In this paper, a postcolonial feminist social work perspective is presented as key to analyzing the intersections between population growth and sustainability within the context of globalization. This new theoretical perspective offers attention to the historical complexity of gendered and racialized power relations within and between systems, honors the agency of all women and reflects core values of social work, social justice and self-determination. The application of this perspective to the intersections between population growth and sustainability can lead to a re-envisioning international and national policies to promote both reproductive justice and sustainability. World population growth is identified in popular discourse as a key barrier to environmental sustainability (Campbell, 2007), causing or exacerbating a multitude of problems, including "climate change and global warming, fragile and failed states, migration and refugee crises, food and water insecurity, poverty, disease, debt, and illiteracy"(Redding, 2007, p. 1). The link made between women's fertility and ecological and social disaster is not new, and has sometimes led to policies that impede women's reproductive rights and jeopardize their health (Hartmann & Hendrixon, 2005). A postcolonial feminist social work perspective draws attention to the context of global inequality, produced historically by colonialism and currently by the economic dimensions of globalization. It is the economic dimensions of globalization that threaten environmental sustainability and reproductive justice. In this paper, a postcolonial feminist social work perspective is used to reframe the discussion of population growth and sustainability to one that represents social work values of social justice and self-determination, promoting both reproductive justice and sustainability.