Module 5 – Fertility and Workforce

I reviewed “Fertility Control: China” that I found on Colby College website ( The population control policy was introduced as a tool for economic development of the country at the time. The study uses economic tools to see the relationship between government enforcement of population control policies and fertility outcomes. It allows the fertility rate to be affected by household preferences, and production technology (changes in agricultural output or income). From 1950’s to late 1980’s, there were three shocks; government, agricultural output, and preferences shocks. They concluded that significant unexpected changes in government leadership lead to both positive and negative impacts to fertility rate, but only short-term. The other two shocks (especially preference) lead to a long fertility cycles in China. Final results from the study suggest that population control isn’t sufficient to promote economic development or sustainability without permanent shifts in individual preferences.

The second case that I chose is about inclusion of women in workforce in South Asia. In my opinion, the IDRC is taking the necessary step to closen the gender gap in education and employment rate through the development of human resource. IDRC started the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program in Pakistan, to examine the factors that keep women from attending training programs. Similarly in Northern Bangladesh, the program involves skills training and a stipend, followed by an internship at a garment factory. To date, more than 90% of graduates have found work. Furthermore, the Delhi-based Institute for Human Development (IHD) are working to report how the varying growth of employment in the manufacturing sector reflects wider economic constraints on women’s employment (why only 4.9% of working Nepali women are in manufacturing versus 25% in Sri Lanka).(

I’m interested in the connection between these two cases with one of my hometown in Singapore where it’s also known to have employed population policies to encourage its economic and social development. The policy is almost similar to China’s but it was too effective and backfired when they end up with a smaller workforce to sustain their economy, due to increasing development of Singapore. This was indicated by the fact that more women followed careers rather than starting a family. The fascinating connection between the three cases is how women plays an important role as a tool and indicator of countries development. The added value to women due to human development is among many countries’ way to make way for economic boom- more education for women leads to higher employment rate, making raising child an expensive utility, so population is controlled and consume less of the country’s resources. Examining these three different places allows us to observe the similarities and differences between various geographical aspects. It might be different in other places where probably the women are more socially oppressed, or we can also look at whether any ‘developed’ countries has a large female working class to prove the hypothesis. Time component is important too, like in the China study case where the policies changes throughout the decades significantly alters the nation’s population composition.

Syed Amirul – Water Tracking & Usage

1a-My hometown of Seremban, Negeri Sembilan which is located south east of Peninsula Malaysia is managed by Negeri Sembilan Water Company (SAINS). Their main source of water comes from a large, unnamed water catchment area in Pantai District, just half-hour off the state’s capital. The watershed is feed from rain water and rivers from surrounding hills. These water are then channeled through aqueducts to Ngoi Ngoi and Terip River Water Treatment Facilities where there’s dams to control and contain the treatment process. From there, treated water are distributed to 350,000 households through storage tanks. Each districts have around 10-25 of these tanks and sum up to 100 tanks for the whole city. They also utilizes high-powered water pumps to to help with the distributions where gravitational system doesn’t work in certain areas. Finally, households such as my family are provided with clean, quality water via an underground main line that the city and municipal bodies had provided us with. The website of SAINS was pretty simple but I got some of the insights from Google Maps and connect the searches intuitively.


1b- For this activity I chose a Monday because that’s my busiest day and calculated an estimate for my water usage for the whole day. Here is my estimation table:

Activity Number of Times Water Used
Shower 15 minutes 30 gallons
Tooth brushing 2 2.5 gallons
Toilet Flush 3 15 gallons
Drinking 5 3 gallons
Cooking 2 3 gallons
Laundry 1 30 gallons
Dishwasher 1 6 gallons
Hand washing 5 5 gallons
  Total 94.5 gallons

1c- The next day I got myself 2 gallons of bottled water for the experiment. First thing in the morning, I took a glass of water for tooth brushing and I skipped shower so I still have plenty of water left. Halfway through the day I have emptied a gallon from going to the toilet and drinking alone. I tried cooking foods that doesn’t require much water but still that and washing the dishes took up a lot of my remaining water. By around 8 p.m., I’ve finished all of 2 gallons of my water. Most of my usage are for drinking and personal hygiene. During the experiment when I had to control every single usage of water, I start to think about the times when I didn’t have to think and realized how much water I’ve wasted before. From the experience, I know take extra attention to reducing my usage by turning off the faucet while brushing my teeth or in between rinsing my dishes. Even though I did not succeed to last a whole day with only two gallons of water, I know have a deeper appreciation towards water, which I have taken for granted my whole life.

Geography certainly plays a vital role on water usage. It takes a lot of human involvement to alter the environment to provide us with the necessary clean water. From reading other blog posts from different geographical backgrounds, it’s prominent that almost everyone with decent water usage comes from highly populated area with proactive governments.