Gender Norms and Family Planning Decision-Making in Tanzania: A Qualitative Study

Sidney Ruth Schuler, Academy for Educational Development (AED)
Elisabeth Rottach, Academy for Educational Development (AED)
Peninah Mukiri, The Steadman Group (T) Ltd

Experience suggests that the incorporation of gender approaches into family planning and reproductive health programs may increase their impact and sustainability, but further work is needed to examine the interactions between gender norms and family planning and to incorporate this understanding into behavior change communication in specific social contexts. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the role of gender norms in reproductive decision-making and contraceptive use among young married men and women in Tanzania. Study methods consisted of open-ended, in-depth interviews with 30 young currently married men, 30 young married women and 12 older people who influenced family planning decisions. Six focus group interviews were also conducted. The findings suggest that gender factors, such as men’s dominance in decision-making do function as barriers to the use of modern contraceptives, but that fear of side effects, by both men and women, may be even more important deterrents.

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Presented in Poster Session 3