Women's informal communication about family planning in West Africa / Pierre Ngom.

Ngom, Pierre.
xi, 172 leaves ; 29 cm.
Local subjects:
Penn dissertations -- Demography.
Demography -- Penn dissertations.
Historical fertility studies and recent world demographic surveys have been kind to researchers who view contraceptive adoption as a diffusion mechanism. In the last decade, major theoretical breakthroughs have been achieved in helping us understand how such diffusion may occur; all major current theories emphasize the central role played by women's informal communication. Many of the studies that support such theories come from Asian countries, and empirical evidence from Africa is slim. The present study examines women's informal communication about family planning in four West African countries (Ghana, Liberia, Mali, and Senegal).
Across these four countries, analyses of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data show that uneducated women who live in the same household with educated women are more likely to know about contraception than their counterparts who share their household with other uneducated women. This result is obtained after controlling for individuals' own background characteristics, including their education and that of their husband. Assuming that the educated are more knowledgeable about contraception, this constitutes evidence of interpersonal diffusion of information on contraception. Further analyses of the DHS data show, however, that the education of the other women living in the household do not affect a woman's family planning attitudes. Relying on focus group discussions conducted in rural Senegal, I argue that diverging interests within the household--between mothers and daughters-in-law or between co-wives--may explain this weak relationship.
In order to cover women's informal conversations that occur outside the household, I rely on the Senegalese DHS which collected information on respondents' first source of information about contraception. Most Senegalese women first heard about contraception from informal contacts. In addition, women who first heard about contraception from informal sources are less likely to approve of family planning or to intend to use it in the future. The fieldwork interviews provide evidence of such resistance, but they also reveal frequent informal conversations about positive aspects of modern contraception. Consequently, women's informal conversations may encourage or discourage family planning adoption.
Thesis (Ph.D. in Demography) -- Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 1994.
Includes bibliographical references.
Local notes:
University Microfilms order no.: 95-03802.
University of Pennsylvania.
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