Women's Empowerment and Choice of Family Planning Methods

Mai Do, Tulane University
Nami Kurimoto, Tulane University

This study examines associations between women’s empowerment and the use of contraceptives that are female controlled, as well as methods that require the awareness and support of husbands in selected African countries. Data come from the latest Demographic and Health Surveys in Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, Ghana, and Uganda. Empowerment is measured along six dimensions: household economy, socio-cultural activities, health-seeking behavior, fertility preferences, sexual activity negotiation, and attitudes toward domestic violence. Results show a strong association between women’s empowerment and contraceptive use in all countries. In most countries, several dimensions of empowerment emerge as important to either contraceptive use outcome, including household economic decision making, fertility preferences, and sexual activity negotiation. In Namibia, domestic violence attitudes are also important to method use. The findings suggest ways to improve women’s use of contraception, as well as men’s awareness of and involvement in family planning via women’s empowerment.

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Presented in Session 40: Gender and Reproductive Health