This week’s readings included topics on the international marketing environment. Because of this, I wanted to relate an article I read in Bloomberg Businessweek to parts of the text. The June edition of this magazine had an article about new trends in India concerning population control. The government is currently offering cash and other incentives to meet state government quotas. Sterilizing women is a new concept to me, but apparently it is not an uncommon procedure in countries like China and India.
Just to clarify, the operating rooms these women are worked on are nothing like we are use to here in the United States. The article explains one woman’s experience as the following:
Sumati Devi knew before she arrived at the grimy government clinic in Northern India that she would be paid to be sterilized. She didn’t know that she would lie on an operating table with bloody sheets, that the scalpel used on her would be stained with rust, or that she was supposed to get counseling on other birth control methods before consenting to have her fallopian tubes cut and tied.
I was appalled to think a woman would be essentially forced to go through a procedure for only a week’s worth of wages (about ten dollars). Many females are acting out of desperation to feed and support their families. This form of population control is concerning because where is the end. Statistics show that only about 50% of Indian couples of child bearing age practice modern birth control practices.
I found this article relevant because of the issues concerning marketing across cultures. I found in this instance the country’s economic condition, demographic characteristics, values, and customs/rituals definitely play a major role in what is and is not accepted in India. Every country has different regulations and values when it comes to birth control and marketing it. However, I began to think that even if marketing birth control goes against the status quo there comes a point where it is necessary.
Incentives are a great tool, but I think they would be better served if they were awarded for practicing safe sex. The environment and position these women are put in to help their families and help the government reach their quota is inhumane. I agree cultural values, customs, and rituals make change hard, but in this situation I think it is important for marketers to find an appropriate way to market to this demographic of people.
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To read the original article go to: Bloomberg Businessweek