UNICEF wrong on family size in Bangladesh
My problem is that the advertisement gives the impression that women in rural Bangladesh have 6 children. The latest UN sources state between 2.9 and 3.4 children born per women in Bangladesh in 2003. Even when the 10 year old girl mentioned in the advertisement was born in 1995 all sources give a number of less than 4 children per woman.
But what about inequity? A study published 2000 by Dave Gwatkin is available on: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPAH/Resources/Publications/Country-Reports/bangladesh.pdf
Based on a survey done in 1996 the poorest 20 % had 3.8 children and the richest 20% 2.2 children per woman.
The first line in the advertisement is not evidence based! It conveys an impression that nothing has changed to the better. There are of course today many poor women with six children or more in rural Bangladesh, but they are a small proportion of all rural women, only some few percent! Even if these poorest women are the ones that UNICEF will help, I do think it matters that UNICEF conveys an incorrect image of rural Bangladesh. This is especially sad as Bangladesh is a success story regarding lowering of fertility and child mortality.
Please look at the animated statistics at http://www.gapminder.org/ where you scroll down to "Has the world become a better place?" The Gapminder animation shows that Bangladesh had 6 children per women in 1982.
Why is UNICEF conveying a 20 year old image?
1. Lack of knowledge.
2. Conscious judgment that the image of no change in Bangladesh is good for fund rising.
3. Unawareness about negative impacts of the image that nothing changed in Bangladesh.
I hope the reason is number 3 and suggest UNICEF to consider the following start of further adds. "You are one of the women that still has not benefited form the ongoing improvements in rural Bangladesh. If you and your six children ....... " or simply : "You and your four children live in rural Bangladesh. "