Gender relations and reproductive decision making in Honduras

Int Fam Plan Perspect. 2005 Sep;31(3):131-9. doi: 10.1363/3113105.


Context: Gender differences influence decision making about reproductive health. Most information on reproductive health decision making in Latin America has come from women's reports of men's involvement.

Methods: Data were collected in Honduras in 2001 through two national surveys that used independent samples of men aged 15-59 years and women aged 15-49. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify factors associated with male-centered decision-making attitudes and behaviors regarding family size and family planning use.

Results: Overall, 25% of women and 28% of men said that men alone should be responsible for at least one of these reproductive decisions, and 27% of women and 21% of men said that the man in their household made one or both decisions. For women, having no children and being in a consensual union were each associated with holding male-centered decision-making attitudes; having less than a secondary education, being of medium or low socioeconomic status and living in a rural area were each associated with male-centered decision making. Among men, having less than secondary education and being in a consensual union were each associated with male-centered decision-making attitudes and behavior. Women who had ever used or were currently using modern methods were significantly less likely to hold attitudes supporting male-centered decision-making than were those who relied on traditional methods and those who had never used a modern method.

Conclusions: Programs should recognize power imbalances between genders that affect women's ability to meet their stated fertility desires. In rural areas, programs should target men, encouraging them to communicate with their wives on reproductive decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Honduras
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproductive Medicine*
  • Sex Factors