Women's Empowerment and Contraceptive Use: The Role of Independent versus Couples' Decision-Making, from a Lower Middle Income Country Perspective.


Hameed, W; Azmat, SK; Ali, M; Sheikh, MI; Abbas, G; Temmerman, M; Avan, BI; (2014) Women's Empowerment and Contraceptive Use: The Role of Independent versus Couples' Decision-Making, from a Lower Middle Income Country Perspective. PloS one, 9 (8). e104633. ISSN 1932-6203 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104633

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION There is little available evidence of associations between the various dimensions of women's empowerment and contraceptive use having been examined - and of how these associations are mediated by women's socio-economic and demographic statuses. We assessed these phenomena in Pakistan using a structured-framework approach. METHODS We analyzed data on 2,133 women who were either using any form of contraceptive or living with unmet need for contraception. The survey was conducted during May - June 2012, with married women of reproductive age (15-49 years) in three districts of Punjab. The dimensions of empowerment were categorized broadly into: economic decision-making, household decision-making, and women's mobility. Two measures were created for each dimension, and for the overall empowerment: women's independent decisions, and those taken jointly by couples. Contraceptive use was categorized as either female-only or couple methods on the basis of whether a method requires the awareness of, or some support and cooperation from, the husband. Multinomial regression was used, by means of Odds Ratios (OR), to assess associations between empowerment dimensions and female-only and couple contraceptive methods. RESULTS Overall, women tend to get higher decision-making power with increased age, higher literacy, a greater number of children, or being in a household that has superior socio-economic status. The measures for couples' decision-making for overall empowerment and for each dimension of it showed positive associations with couple methods as well as with female-only methods. The only exception was the measure of economic empowerment, which was associated only with the couple method. CONCLUSION Couples' joint decision-making is a stronger determinant of the use of contraceptive methods than women-only decision-making. This is the case over and above the contribution of women's socio-demographic and economic statuses. Effort needs to be made to educate women and their husbands equally, with particular focus on highly effective contraceptive methods.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Research Centre: Maternal and Child Health Intervention Research Group
Related URLs:
PubMed ID: 25119727
Web of Science ID: 340900600072
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1883904

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