Men’s needs and women’s fears: Gender-related power dynamics in contraceptive use and coping with consequences in a rural setting in Kenya

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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This paper examines gender-related power influences on contraceptive use and coping with consequences in a rural setting in Kenya. Data come from in-depth interviews conducted in 2018 with 42 women who participated in a longitudinal study implemented in Homa Bay County. Data were analysed using an exploratory inductive content analytic approach. The findings show that the key drivers of gender-related power influence on contraceptive use and coping with consequences included: 1) the extent to which the women managed to provide sex and sexual pleasure to their partners when they were using contraception; 2) men’s readiness to provide permission and resources that women needed and the latter’s ability to overcome challenges in obtaining the same from their partners; and 3) women’s fears concerning infidelity and partner violence, which influenced the actions they took to reduce instances that could make their partners suspect them of engaging in extra-marital affairs, drive their partners into such affairs, or encourage their partners to direct emotional or physical violence on them. Findings suggest the need for gender-transformative actions combining empowerment programmes for women with information, education and communications activities targeting both men and women.