Gender Scripts and Unwanted Pregnancy among Urban Kenyan Women

Chimaraoke O. Izugbara, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Beverlyne Kassim, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
David Ngilangwa, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Unwanted pregnancy remains a major social and public health issue in Africa. The current study interrogated characterizations of unwanted pregnancy among a sample of urban Kenyan women. Our analysis indicates that the experience of an unwanted pregnancy had a diversity of significance for women and that pregnancies did not merely become unwanted because they occurred at a time women become pregnant without wanting to. In general, pregnancies were considered unwanted when they occurred in contexts that did not reinforce traditional notions of consummate motherhood and ‘proper’ procreation or and that revealed the women’s deployment of their sexuality in ways that were considered to be culturally inappropriate. Unwanted pregnancy is not unrelated to the cultural norms that define ‘proper’ behavior for women.

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Presented in Poster Session 4