How Negative Is the Influence of Men on Contraceptive Use in Ghana?

Mark Muenchrath, University of Chicago

Research analyzing Ghanaian couples has concluded that Ghanaian men have more control over family size and contraceptive use than women. Since entire portions of Ghanaian society seem resistant to decreasing fertility, this paper looks at couples’ attitudes toward contraception and their resulting contraceptive use to test whether this male control involves prevention of contraceptive use. The analysis uses data pairing husbands’ and wives’ responses from the 2003 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey to determine how couples’ concordant or discordant acceptance of contraception affects how they use modern family planning methods. This paper finds that the wife’s acceptance of contraception along with her desires to prevent pregnancy best predict whether a couple uses contraception. It concludes that Ghanaian men apparently do not coercively prevent their wives from using modern contraception. It reverifies the theorem that contraception is far more prevalent when both spouses have positive attitudes toward its use.

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Presented in Poster Session 2