Gendered power dynamics and unmet need for family planning among married women in Bangladesh
Context: Bangladeshi women are typically constrained by strict religious norms, patriarchal family structure, and poverty. Relatively little is known, however, about their ability to use contraceptives based on existing power relations at the household level. Drawing on social dominance theory with its focus on four bases of gendered power, this study aims to examine how power dynamics affect unmet need for family planning among married women in Bangladesh.
Methods: Logistic regression analyses using data from the Demographic and Health Survey 2011 of Bangladesh were used to examine the socio-demographic and gendered power dynamics associated with unmet need for family planning.
Results: About 14 percent of currently married women in Bangladesh have an unmet need for family planning. Muslim women had 54% higher unmet need for family planning than their non-Muslim counterparts. Women with greater participation in domestic decision-making were moderately less likely to have unmet need for family planning. Regression analyses indicated that egalitarian participation in controlling resources rather than women's sole autonomy was a strong predictor in unmet need for family planning models. Furthermore, age, age at marriage, place of residence, exposure to family planning information, and control over resources were significant predictors of unmet need for family planning.
Conclusion: The relationships between socio-demographic characteristics, power dynamics, and unmet need for family planning are not straightforward. The study found moderate support for the power bases such as consensual ideologies and resource control in predicting unmet demand for family planning.