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The Concept of World Risk Society and the Development of Contraceptive Pills

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From a sociological perspective, the development of contraceptive pills has to be viewed as a necessary mechanism in the fight against poverty. Since having lesser children automatically raises the biological health of the family as a unit and does wonders to reduce infant mortality, it is indeed a welcome change when women start using contraceptive pills as a family planning mechanism.   From a sociological perspective, the development of contraceptive pills has to be viewed as a necessary mechanism in the fight against poverty. Since having lesser children automatically raises the health of the family as a unit and does wonders to reduce infant mortality, it is indeed a welcome change when women start using contraceptive pills as a family planning mechanism.   According to Beck, the world was always characterized by “ natural risks” like floods and epidemics.

However, what is different in the world risk society are the manufactured risks arising out of globalization and industrialization. Industrialization created obvious problems of its own: pollution and other urban poverty-related conditions, what Beck calls manufactured risks, risks that are human-made. Hence, the problem overpopulation and high rates of infant mortality has to be seen in this context.

It is useful to distinguish between natural and manmade risks as the latter is that much more difficult to contain since they are “ invisible” risks. Further, as the next paragraph shows these “ contemporary risks” affect the global poor more than the rich.   As Beck (1992:35) puts it "wealth accumulates at the top, risks at the bottom. " The global poor are exposed to more risks than the global wealthy, which include not just extremely rich individual, but quasi-totality of the population of core areas.

Additionally, the wealthy (in terms of income, power, and education) have access to more information on how to avoid risks. In other words, under conditions of global uncertainty, information becomes itself a source of wealth that is unequally distributed.   If we examine each of the processes that Beck was talking about i. e. globalization, individualization, gender revolution, underemployment and global risks with respect to the development of contraceptive pills, we get a mosaic of a bigger picture overview of where these interlinked forces taking us as far as empowerment and emancipation of women are concerned.

Globalization has rendered boundaries meaningless and the world is “ one market under god” (Frank, 2009).  

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