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French Pres. Emmanuel Macron: 'Perfectly educated' women won't choose to have big families

French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that women in Africa have many children because they lack education. (LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron said that women in Africa are having a large number of children because they lack education, according to The Guardian.

Macron was speaking at a Gates Foundation event called "Goalkeepers" late last month, and he was making the point that women are not given enough information to make choices with their lives.

"I always say: 'Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children.'" Macron said. "Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12. This is just because a lot of girls were not properly educated, sometimes because these countries decided the rights of these girls were not exactly the same rights as the young man. That is not acceptable."

What's the story?

Macron argued that women in some parts of Africa lacked "chosen fertility," and therefore were having big families because they didn't have the tools or opportunity for other options.

While few would likely argue with his point about children leaving school and getting married, some people took offense at the insinuation that someone who would have seven or more children must lack education.

"So wrong," Twitter user Brian Brown tweeted. "My wife had 9. Went to #UVA. Kids are blessings no matter what! Like this if you disagree with Macron."

The tone of Macron's comments as well as of the entire conversation at the Gates Foundation event also made alluded to the possibility of population control measures that might be against the will of the people in the African countries in question. As Rebecca Oas of Life News writes:

"Sub-Saharan Africa remains notable for both its high actual fertility, and its high desired fertility. While family planning advocates, including Melinda Gates, typically speak of the need to increase access to contraceptives, their real goal is to increase use and to promote a small-family norm.  But the looming shadow of past abuses remains large, despite efforts by the Gates Foundation and others to bring back the demographic rationale for family planning in addition to rhetoric about human rights and choice."

Macron has been criticized in the past for the way he has spoken about the problems in Africa. Last year, he made similar comments about Africa's "civilizational" problem, again referring to women on the continent having too many children.

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