Current Use of Contraception among the Pare of Northern Tanzania: Do Wife-Husband Relations Matter or Is It Women's Empowerment?

Ulla M. Larsen, Harvard University
Marida Hollos, Brown University

Current literature on the adoption of contraception in sub-Saharan Africa indicates that the empowerment of women within the marital union has a positive impact on contraceptive practices and that the link of empowerment to contraception is through spousal communication. This paper represents a step beyond these works by broadening the concept of spousal communication and by considering the effects of spousal communication and women's empowerment as separate factors on the adoption of contraception. The study is based on ethnographic and survey data from a case study of matched wives and husbands in two Pare villages in Northern Tanzania. Results indicate that while the empowerment of women (as measured by their level of education and religion) enhances joint decision making and thus has an indirect effect on the adoption of contraception, the empowerment of women (as measured by the woman's occupation outside of farming), in itself is associated with contraceptive use.

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Presented in Session 34: Couples and Family Planning