184184 Promoting gender equity by expanding family planning choice through fertility awareness-based methods: Experiences from Guatemala, Peru, and India

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Irit Sinai, PhD , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Sujata I. Naik, MPH , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Promoting gender equity is one of the Millennium Development Goals, a cornerstone of which is women's ability to control their own fertility. Data from three studies were examined to determine if integrating the Standard Days Method (SDM), a fertility-awareness based family planning method, into the method mix promotes gender equity. A Guatemala study followed SDM users for seven cycles. Studies in India and Peru examined the impact of integrating the SDM into existing services on a large scale. Our indicators for gender equity were Pulerwitz scales from sets of questions about respondents' perceptions of communication with their partners, their right to refuse sexual activity, their partners' right to beat them, and decision-making within the household. In Guatemala we found an increase between admission and exit interviews in the communication and right-to-avoid-sex scores and a decrease in the decision-making score. In community surveys in India and Peru scores improved somewhat in the control area, improved more in the intervention area, and even more among women who had heard of the SDM. For example, the right-to-refuse-sex score in India increased from 3.83 to 4.23 in the control area; from 3.66 to 4.77 in the intervention area; but to 4.88 for women who heard of the method and 5.00 for women who used it. These results demonstrate that offering the SDM may promote gender equity through improvements in these indicators even at the community level, where couples not using the method may be exposed to IEC messages.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this presentation participants will: (1) Understand results relating to gender equity from a study in Guatemala which followed SDM users for seven cycles of method use; (2) Understand gender equity results from large community surveys in Peru and India in areas in which the SDM was fully integrated into service delivery; and (3) recognize that offering the SDM as part of the contraceptive method mix may promote gender equity through improvements in women’s perceived right to make household decisions and to refuse sexual activity.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was involved in the study from inception to its conclusion, and did most of the statistical analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.