If policies for the promotion of gender equality are to be realizable their goals must include equitable distribution of health related resources in line with MDG goals 3 and 5 which focus on promoting gender equality, empowerment of women and family planning. This requires careful identification of the similarities and differences in the use of family planning as a component of reproductive health. It also necessitates an analysis of the gendered obstacles that currently prevent men and women from participating or using family planning. Reasons for inequalities in the use of family planning include patriarchal culture, religious beliefs and sex preference manifested in discrimination against female children in health and general care. This paper examines gender inequality in family planning practice and sustainable development in Nigeria, using Patriarchal theory as the framework. The paper strongly argued that socio-cultural factors as well as gender roles influence the use of family planning and affect health and sustainable development in Nigeria. It outlines some measures for change which include policies to ensure universal access to reproductive health care, to reduce gender inequalities in access to resources and to relax the constraints of rigidly defined gender roles. The paper recommends that strategies to improve true sustainable development will depend on the empowerment of women in Nigerian through education and access to socio economic opportunities. The paper further recommends policy initiatives to include men in family planning programmes in Nigeria to engender equity in health and sustainable development.
Key words: Gender equity, family planning, patriarchy, sustainable development.
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