What is Family Planning?
Family planning refers to the deliberate control of the number and timing of births through the use of contraception and other methods. Family planning gives the family sole control over how many kids they choose to have, or not have. The most important part being that control resides with the family, for the benefit of each and every individual family. The goal of family planning is to help individuals and couples have the number of children they desire, and to ensure that these children are born into healthy and supportive families and communities. Family planning programs and services typically include education and counseling on reproductive health, access to a range of contraceptive methods, and ongoing support to ensure their effective use. By enabling individuals and couples to plan and space their pregnancies, family planning can improve maternal and child health, reduce poverty, and promote economic and social development. Family planning makes our world more sustainable. Family planning decreases fertility rates, globally. Family planning and bodily autonomy is paramount in creating a sustainable population for our planet.
The success of family planning programs impacting birth rates stems from several factors, including:
- Education and awareness: Family planning programs often include education and awareness campaigns that inform people about the benefits of having smaller families and the various methods of birth control available to them.
- Access to birth control: Family planning programs provide access to a range of birth control methods, such as contraceptives, condoms, and intrauterine devices (IUDs), which helps people to control their reproductive health in ways that work for their lifestyles and their bodies. Family planning can also include actions men take, like vasectomies. Birth control, and family planning, is not the sole responsibility of a woman. Men across the world are learning about family planning for their family, and it has only made family planning more successful.
- Availability of services: Family planning programs often provide access to trained health workers who can offer advice and support to individuals and couples seeking to limit their family size.
- Support from governments and organizations: Effective family planning programs require the support and funding from governments and organizations to ensure that services are accessible and affordable for all who need them.
- Empowerment of women: When women are empowered to make decisions about their reproductive health and given access to the information and resources they need, they are more likely to choose to have smaller families and control their own family size. At Population Media Center, we work on the rights of women and girls, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is what is right for our planet. When women and girls have universal human rights, our planet will flourish. End of story. We use entertainment education and tell transformative stories, because of its impact globally.
In a world where nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended and more than 218 million women have an unmet need for birth control, it can be hard to feel hopeful. That said, there are plenty of ground-breaking examples of progress, from Guatemala to Kenya and the Philippines, in decreasing the unmet need for family planning, advancing gender equity, and lowering birth rates. In episode 3 of the limited series podcast, Population 8 Billion, Wame Jallow and Kathleen Mogelgaard discuss the following:
- How to dismantle patriarchal opposition to contraception through couples counseling and education
- How to bridge community dialogue between providers and recipients of care, religious leaders, traditional leaders, and policy-makers
- How comprehensive sexuality education for children and adults helps dispel myths and misinformation about contraception
- Why offering a wide variety of contraceptive methods to everyone everywhere helps address side effects and lead to long-term use of family planning
- Ground-breaking examples of family planning in Botswana, Burundi, Kenya, Guatemala, and the Philippines
- What needs to be done so that women worldwide have universal access to sexual and reproductive health services
The opposition to contraception by patriarchal societies can be a major barrier to achieving reproductive health and gender equality. However, with the right strategies and support, this opposition can be dismantled and couples can be empowered to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. Some of the topics covered in the podcast include discussions on important ways we can collectively work to remove societal barriers to family planning.
- Couples counseling: Couples counseling can be an effective way to address the underlying beliefs and attitudes that drive patriarchal opposition to contraception. Through counseling, couples can learn to communicate more effectively, understand other perspectives, and resolve any conflicts or tensions related to contraception. Couples counseling can also help to foster trust and intimacy between partners, which is essential for making informed decisions about their reproductive health.
- Education: Education is a powerful tool for changing attitudes and behaviors. Couples can be educated about the benefits of family planning, including improved health outcomes for women and children, as well as the economic benefits for families and communities. This education should be evidence-based and culturally sensitive, taking into account the beliefs and values of the couples involved.
- Empowerment: Empowering women through education and access to resources can help to shift the balance of power within couples and families. This can lead to increased agency and decision-making power for women, allowing them to make informed choices about their reproductive health. This empowerment can be achieved through programs that promote gender equality and challenge traditional gender roles that limit women’s choices and opportunities.
- Evidence-based information: Providing couples with evidence-based information about the safety and efficacy of various methods of contraception can help to dispel myths and misinformation that may contribute to patriarchal opposition to contraception. This information should be easily accessible and presented in a manner that is understandable and relevant to the couples involved.
- Addressing gender norms and stereotypes: Addressing gender norms and stereotypes that perpetuate patriarchal opposition to contraception can help to create a more equitable and supportive environment for women. This can include promoting gender equality and challenging traditional gender roles that limit women’s choices and opportunities.
Patriarchal opposition to contraception can be effectively dismantled. This can help to create a more supportive environment for women and families and enable them to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. By investing in these strategies, we can work towards a world where women and families have the tools and resources they need to make choices that are best for their health and well-being. If you are interested in hearing about successes in family planning in countries like Guatemala, The Philippines, or Kenya, this podcast will offer groundbreaking examples from around the world.
WHAT STANDS BEHIND THE SUCCESS OF FAMILY PLANNING? COMMUNITY AND COUPLES DIALOGUE
In a world where nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended and more than 218 million women have an unmet need for birth control, it can be hard to feel hopeful. That said, there are plenty of ground-breaking examples of progress, from Guatemala to Kenya and the Philippines, in decreasing the unmet need for family planning, advancing gender equity and lowering birth rates.