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Women’s agency and its relationship to current contraceptive use in lower- and middle-income countries: A systematic review of the literature

James-Hawkins, Laurie and Peters, Courtney and VanderEnde, Kristin and Bardin, Lauren and Yount, Kathryn M (2018) 'Women’s agency and its relationship to current contraceptive use in lower- and middle-income countries: A systematic review of the literature.' Global Public Health, 13 (7). 843 - 858. ISSN 1744-1692

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Abstract

Research shows a positive relationship between women’s empowerment and reproductive health. Yet we know little about the quantitative relationship between women’s agency and contraceptive use. We conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature assessing the link between women’s decision-making and freedom of movement with their contraceptive use in lower- and middle-income countries. Of 102 articles that met the initial screening criteria, 12 met all inclusion and exclusion criteria. Of the 12 included studies, consistently positive associations with contraceptive use were found in those that measured decision-making and freedom of movement as separate constructs. Composite measures had a less clear relationship with contraceptive use. In conclusion, women’s agency is associated with women’s contraceptive use in lower- and middle-income countries. However, the relationship is sensitive to how agency and its components are measured. Our review suggests the need for consistent validation of scales for women’s agency as well as more rigorous research using standardised and validated scales, when possible. Longitudinal and intervention studies in lower- and middle-income countries will be useful for understanding the causal impact of women’s agency on contraceptive use, and will help to inform policies and programmes to increase contraceptive use in these settings.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Contraception, lower-income countries, systematic review, women’s agency, women’s empowerment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 09:47
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2018 09:47
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23556

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