Women Empowerment And Unmet Need for Family Planning in Kenya
This paper examines the association between unmet need for family planning and women’s empowerment in Kenya. The association was examined using bivariate and multivariate analysis of the 2008-2009 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey data. Logistic regression analysis was used to predict the likelihood of women experiencing unmet need for family planning when exposed to different empowerment variables. Women’s employment and mode of payment emerged as a significant predictor of unmet need after controlling for the confounding effects of all the other variables, including age, education, type of residence, region of residence, and wealth. Women who worked in the year preceding the survey but were not paid, had 37 percentlower odds for having unmet need compared with the reference group of women who did not work. Similarly, women who were paid in cash onlyas well as those who were paid in kind only or in cash and in kind had 28percent and 55percent lower odds of having unmet need respectively compared with those who did not work. Thus women’s work status isa significant factor inexplaining differences in unmet need.Experience of spousal violence emerged as a significant predictor of unmet need for family planning after removing the husband/partner control variable from the model, implying that there could exista relationship between husbands’ controlling behaviour and women’s experience of spousal violence, both factors considered in the literature as contributing to disempowerment of women.The paper recommends the need to address factors influencing access to family planning services in order to reduce current levels of unmet need. At programme level, the study also recommends formation and/or strengthening of programmes focusing on women’s empowerment.
Key words: Kenya Women’s Empowerment; Reproductive Health; Unmet Need For Family;
Women Employemnt Status; Women Decision Making