Regardless of the close to doubling in the usage of condoms, feminine sterilization continues to be the most well-liked selection.
Sonal Dua, Assistant Professor, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana.
Aditi Singhal, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Divya Gupta, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
The recently-released fifth round of our National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-5) highlights that there has been a more than 10 percentage-point increase in the use of contraception among currently married women aged 15-49 years: that is, from 53.5% in 2015-16 to 66.7% in 2019-20.
A significant jump has been observed in the use of condoms, which rose from 5.6% to 9.5%. It’s noteworthy that despite the near doubling in the use of condoms, female sterilization continues to be the most popular choice, with an adoption rate of 37.9% (NFHS-5), even many years after the inception of family planning as a concept in India.
This brings forth a glaring gender divide in the methods of contraception used in India. The divide could imply two things. First, it may indicate greater bodily autonomy exercised by women today; in charge of their own lives and bodies, women could be making their own contraception choices, thereby determining when and how they want to plan their children and careers.
Alternatively, this divide could also indicate the deep-rooted patriarchy that exploits and subjugates women. To evaluate which of the two are at work, we need to take a diligent look at our data.
According to the NFHS-4, conducted during 2015-16, only about 8% of women were found to make independent decisions on the use of contraception, while for nearly every tenth woman, it was the husband who decided contraception use.
The irony is that while it is husbands who decide the method, the actual burden of it falls on women.
Published in: Mint
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