Giving Compass' Take:

Madeleine Keck explains that educated women slow population growth, reducing climate change based on the example of the southern Indian state of Kerala. 

• What role can donors play in advocating for women's education? What barriers - cultural and logistical - need to be addressed to educate women? 

• Read more about the link between women's reproductive education and climate change.

Australian filmmaker Fiona Cochrane attempts to shift climate change solutions away from diminishing greenhouse gas-emitting goods and enhancing the use of solar energy to instead focus on reducing population density.

Entitled Women Are The Answer, Cochrane’s internationally award-winning documentary highlights the links between population growth and environmental stability and reveals that when it comes to reducing population density, educating women is key.

In the West, when talking about climate change, we tend to concentrate on how much energy we all use, but we have avoided discussing one of the largest problems in the developing world — population growth and the number of people using the world’s limited resources — because it has been controversial,” she told film broadcast publication We Are Moving Stories. “Population growth is one of the most important factors in the climate debate, and the best way to reduce it is by non-coercive means, namely by the education of women through secondary school.”

Set in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the documentary explores Kerala’s birth rate percentage, literacy levels, and healthcare systems. Compared to the rest of India, in which 39% of girls aged 15 to 18 receive no education, Kerala has 93% literacy rates on par with Australia. Similarly jarring, families in Kerala have on average 1.7 children per couple, compared to 5.5 children per couple in various other Indian provinces.

“What is it about Kerala that makes it look like an entirely different country, rather than a state of India?” Cochrane asks in Indian newspaper The Hindu. “The answer is simple — the education of its women.”

“Examining Kerala could contribute to the discussion on global population growth and how it might be slowed down in other developing countries,” she stated. “I want to show that if we don’t do something to curb population growth soon, the environmental consequences will be disastrous for everyone.”

Read the full article about educating women by Madeleine Keck at Global Citizen.