(Withdrawn) Understanding fertility control and family planning in Senegal : the roles of gender, religion and rumour

Nathalie Mondain, Université d'Ottawa
Sara Randall, University College London
Alioune Diagne, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)

Given that fertility remains high in West Africa it is important to understand the extent to which offer or demand are the principal barriers to use of modern contraception and increased fertility control. Furthermore if demand for modern methods of fertility control is low, is this because people do not want to control their fertility or because the methods available for fertility control are not acceptable? How do religion, gender and power relations interact and what can such analysis contribute to our understanding the persistence of high fertility in West Africa. This paper will use empirical qualitative data to examine these questions of beliefs and behaviours around fertility control and contraceptive use or non-use in a Senegalese urban community which is in the early stages of fertility transition. In order to do this we first consider men and women’s attitudes to the acceptability of the different dimensions and contexts of fertility control before looking in more detail at attitudes towards the contraceptive methods available to achieve such control and the ways people talk about fertility control and contraception. We then examine how gender based differences in the acceptability of fertility control are mediated and moulded by societally accepted gender roles and to what extent individuals have the agency to negotiate. Our evidence challenges measures of unmet need and has implications for effective family planning policy. We show the importance of listening to both men and women, and the pitfalls of pre-classifying responses into analytic categories before really hearing what people are saying.

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Presented in Session 64: Sexual and reproductive health: infertility and assisted reproductive technologies