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Men, fertility control and contraception in Senegal

Sara Randall, University College London
Nathalie Mondain, Université d'Ottawa
Alioune Diagne, INDEPTH Network

This paper analyses the role of men as impediments or facilitators of fertility control. Qualitative data collected in a small town in North-west Senegal in 1999 and 2007 demonstrate that men’s attitudes to the use of modern contraception are highly dependent on both the context of sexual relations and the motivation for contraceptive use. In interviews initial male opposition to family planning is contingent upon fertility control being interpreted within the language of formulation of fertility targets and ideal family size as a goal. When maternal and child health issues are broached, attitudes which formerly appeared to be intransigent opposition develop more flexibility. Men’s public discourse around fertility control and family planning is heavily influenced by a need to demonstrate masculinity, their adherence to publically accepted attitudes within local Islamic understanding and a desire to demonstrate their patriarchal control in the family.

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Presented in Session 56: Men’s roles in family planning