Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 226

Full Length Research Paper

Femininity, masculinity and family planning decision-making among married men and women in rural Ethiopia: A qualitative study

Dereje Geleta
  • Dereje Geleta
  • Department of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Hawassa University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 15 March 2018
  •  Accepted: 08 October 2018
  •  Published: 30 November 2018


Family planning service contributes a lot to reduction of morbidity and mortality and it does more to help couples limit the number of their children. Women’s ability to control their own fertility is strongly affected by social constructs of gender role, expectations and gender inequalities. This study aims to explore influence of femininity and masculinity on family planning decision-making among married men and women, rural Ethiopia, in 2014-15. A qualitative study involving grounded data was employed. Data collection included in-depth interviews with key informants, and focus group discussion was conducted. Axial coding was employed. The results revealed that different femininity and masculinity practices in the community were obstacles for family planning. Decision-making power of men on family planning, seeing children as social prestige due to cultural beliefs, low status of women in community, undermining of the knowledge of women, restricting the responsibility of women/wives to the home, the dominance of men/husbands on households. Thus, due to men’s dominance at the household level and other related factors, the role of women on family planning decision-making was limited to merely accepting the decisions of their husbands. Final decision was made based on the men’s interest.


Key words: Femininity, masculinity, qualitative research, family planning decision making.