The impact of women's employment and education on contraceptive use and abortion in Kinshasa, Zaire

Stud Fam Plann. 1994 Mar-Apr;25(2):96-110.


This report examines contraceptive behavior and abortion among women residing in Kinshasa, Zaire's capital city, with particular emphasis on women's employment and education. A data set collected in 1990 covering 2,399 women of reproductive age was used. While the practice of contraception is a common event in Kinshasa, dominated by the rhythm method, the use of modern contraceptives remains limited, but is on the rise. Induced abortion is reported by 15 percent of the ever-pregnant women in the survey. Women's employment and education are strongly linked to contraceptive use and abortion, and differences in the incidence of abortion by schooling and employment status appear to play an important role in contributing to corresponding observed differences in fertility. Modern contraceptives and induced abortion appear to be used as complementary fertility-control strategies in Kinshasa, and analyses of the findings suggest that better-educated women employed in the modern sector are most likely to be in the forefront of the contraceptive revolution.

PIP: This analysis identified urban women working in the formal sector as the primary focus for determining the relationship to fertility behavior in Kinshasa, Kenya: the effects of employment and education on contraceptive behavior and other effects on the likelihood of contraceptive use. Background information was provided on ethnic composition, family planning activity, access to schooling for women, employment patterns, fertility patterns, and contraceptive use patterns. The brief literature review identified better educated women and women employed in the modern sector as more likely to practice contraception. Weighted data were obtained from a 1990 household survey of 2399 ever sexually active women, 13-49 years old and not currently pregnant, which was stratified by socioeconomic status and residence and oversampled for the target population. Logistic regressions were used to determine contraceptive behavior. Contraceptive prevalence in the sample was just under 49.4%, of which 15% used modern methods. Rhythm and withdrawal were popular traditional methods and the condom use was the most frequently used modern method. Ever use of any method of contraception was almost 80%, and generally ever use and current use increased with educational level increases. Employees had higher lifetime prevalence than self employed or nonemployed women. Higher use was reported among women 30-44 years old. Over 15% of women reported an induced abortion, which showed slight increases with educational level increases; induced abortion reports were highly associated with high economic status. Findings from the multivariate analysis showed that increased education was significantly associated with the greater likelihood of using method of contraception. Self-employed women and employees had much higher predicted probabilities of contraceptive use. Married women were more likely to use contraception than married women who had been in more than one union, unmarried women who had been previously married, and never married women. Higher parity and desire for birth spacing were highly significantly related to contraceptive use. Recent migrants (within the past 10 years) and women enrolled in school were less likely to use contraception. Employees and women with higher economic status had a greater likelihood of reporting induced abortion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Rate / trends
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo / epidemiology
  • Developing Countries*
  • Educational Status*
  • Family Planning Services / trends*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Women, Working / statistics & numerical data*