Men Want To Be Involved In Family Planning, But Are Ignored

December 06, 1996

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Almost globally, men are thought to be stumbling blocks to planned parenthood efforts. A Cornell University researcher, however, has found that men around the world want to be involved but are given little chance to participate in family planning issues.

"In my research in Latin America, I found an extraordinarily sharp division of gender roles, sharp enough so that husbands and wives failed to communicate on mundane matters, but especially on matters of sex and reproduction," said J. Mayone Stycos, Cornell professor of rural sociology. "This often resulted in a failure to pool commonly held aspirations and information that could have expedited small-family goals."

Stycos did a literature search of the past 40 years of research on population and attitudinal studies on family planning. He presented his findings in, "Men, Couples, and Family Planning: A Retrospective Look," at the annual convention of the American Public Health Association in New York City on Nov. 19. Among the research Stycos examined were the World Fertility Study (WFS) and the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS).

Efforts at global family planning -- with the aim to curb the world's growing population -- have almost exclusively targeted women and have virtually cut men out of the process, Stycos found. Efforts should be made to emphasize men's shared responsibility in bringing children into the world and those responsibilities for family must be instilled in the males at young ages, he said.

Stycos cited "A Critique of the Traditional Planned Parenthood Approach in Developing Areas," a paper he published in 1962. "I argued that family planning ideology was guilty of several biases that were impeding the movement's progress," Stycos said. He explained researchers and educators should take advantage of the fact that men and women's reproductive goals are very similar and include males in clinics and educational programs.

In the United States, 78 percent of men sampled in a national survey said that contraception was a joint decision, and 87 percent of men strongly agreed that men have the same responsibility as women for the children they father. [Grady, W.R., et al., "Men's Perceptions of Their Roles and Responsibilities Regarding Sex, Contraception and Child Rearing," Family Planning Perspectives, 28(5): 221 (1996).]

But on a global scale, little has changed. In the early 1970s, there were three times as many research reports dealing with women as there were dealing with men. Today, the discrepancy is roughly the same, Stycos found.

While family planning is a controversial topic in many countries, Stycos believes that there needs to be attitudinal changes about men -- starting at the top -- in order to get the governments of developing countries to broaden the gender focus of family planning programs.

Cornell University

Related Contraception Articles from Brightsurf:

Changes in birth rates after elimination of cost sharing for contraception
Researchers assessed changes in birth rates by income level among commercially insured women before and after the elimination of cost sharing for contraception under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Buying emergency contraception is legal but not always easy at small, mom-and-pop pharmacies
Amie Ashcraft has studied the availability and accessibility of emergency contraception in West Virginia pharmacies.

Paying GPs to provide contraception information linked to reduced abortions
Providing general practitioners (GPs) with financial incentives to offer information about long-acting contraceptives, such as the hormonal implant, is associated with an increase in their use, and a fall in the number of abortions .

Age-appropriate contraception counseling helps health care providers educate teens
Preventing unplanned pregnancies in adolescents with effective and easy-to-use contraception is key to ensuring that adolescents do not become parents before they are ready.

Cost prevents one in five US women from using their preferred contraception
Recent Supreme Court Ruling Will Increase Birth Control Costs for Many Women, Make it Less Likely They Will Use the Birth Control They Want

Rochester community initiative increases teenage use of effective contraception
Study finds that teenagers in Rochester utilize Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) at a rate five times higher than the United States as a whole.

Birth and pregnancy experts fail to deliver on contraception advice
Health care professionals who provide contraceptive services outside of general practice are unlikely to discuss long-acting reversible contraception such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants for women without children -- despite their proven safety, effectiveness and convenience.

Experiences of undesired effects of hormonal contraception
A study of women who experienced mental ill-health from a hormonal contraception indicates they value their mental well-being higher than a satisfactory sex life.

Changes to Title X mean contraception access for teens could worsen nationwide, study shows
Texas teens lost access to confidential family planning services due to family planning budget cuts and loss of Title X funds, says a new study led by the University of Colorado College of Nursing just published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Long-acting contraception has proven highly effective but is restricted by some hospitals
Long-acting reversible contraceptives like intrauterine implants have greatly reduced unintended pregnancies and abortions, but government protections allowing religious hospitals to restrict care are limiting access to health care consumers, according to an expert at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Read More: Contraception News and Contraception Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to