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Deepak wins national award for paper on population growth

By Ann Friou
University News Service
January 31, 2012

Anne Deepak

Anne Deepak

Anne C. Deepak, assistant professor of social work at Texas State University-San Marcos, has received a national award for feminist scholarship as it pertains to social work theory, research, practice, policy and education.

Deepak received the 2011 Feminist Scholarship Award from the Women’s Council of the Council on Social Work Education, for her paper Sustainability and Population Growth in the Context of Globalization: A Postcolonial Feminist Social Work Perspective.

The paper was presented at the 2011 Symposium on Social and Reproductive Justice, Health and Sustainability, sponsored by the Women and Gender Research Collaborative of Texas State’s Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies. The Center is in the College of Liberal Arts.

In her paper, Deepak argues that world population growth can be slowed to an environmentally sustainable level if certain social, political and economic conditions are met globally, particularly in areas where women are poor. For example, Deepak argues, women around the world must have the right to determine whether they reproduce, and they must have access to good health care, including safe contraceptives, pregnancies and childbirth. Her research shows that fertility falls when women and their partners have access to family planning services.

Women’s reproductive self-determination often goes hand in hand with their access to jobs that pay a decent wage, and with access to adequate nutrition and clean and safe environments, Deepak continues.

She writes, however, that certain policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank impede women’s self-determination by requiring developing countries to open their markets to international competition, to privatize certain public services such healthcare and the public water supply, and to cut public expenditures on social services such as education and welfare. Such policies limit access to services, create job loss and rises in food and energy prices, and fuel environmental degradation and resource depletion. The effects of such policies are particularly hard on women as they limit women’s access to decent wages and to adequate healthcare, nutrition and education for themselves and their families. Deepak concludes that social workers and policy makers can begin to understand the intersection of population growth and environmental sustainability by looking at the historical causes and effects of world poverty as they have pertained to women.

Deepak’s paper can be read online in the Journal of Research on Women and Gender, at http://jrwg.mcgs.txstate.edu/submissions/copyright/TOC1.html. The journal is published by the Women and Gender Research Collaborative.

“Being involved in the Women and Gender Research Collaborative and presenting at the symposium opened many doors for me,” Deepak said. “The collaborative is growing, it is doing interesting work, and it’s exciting to be part of it. I encourage people to send in abstracts for the collaborative's 2012 symposium and to attend it.”

The 2012 symposium, titled “Occupy Free Speech: Getting Women’s Voices Heard,” will be held Friday, March 30, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center on the Texas State campus. Abstracts of research papers may be submitted to mcgs@txstate.edu, by Feb. 15. Attendance at the symposium is free; please RSVP to mcgs@txstate.edu or (512) 245-2361.