Population Research and Policy Review 16: 447–455, 1997.
1997 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Do male reproductive preferences really point to a need to refocus
F. NII-AMOO DODOO
& EVELINA PANAYOTOVA
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA;
Abstract. Independently collected data from a 1994 survey in Accra, Ghana, are used here
to verify earlier ﬁndings from Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data which indicate
the existence of a closer tie between men’s reproductive preferences and contraceptive use,
than between the latter and women’s preferences. Indeed, the ﬁndings corroborate the earlier
studies and suggest that fertility transition in Africa may be accelerated if the family planning
establishment would recognize the contribution of the ‘male role’, and bring men into the
mainstream of their agenda.
Key words: Africa, Decision making, Family planning, Fertility, Joint unmet need
The role men play in limiting family planning progress is receiving increasing
attention. In a recent issue of this journal Dodoo (1993) used 1988 Ghana
Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data to argue that men’s higher (than
women’s) reproductive preferences, and lower need for contraception, pre-
vented the higher incidence of contraception suggested by women’s (higher)
unmet need. This paper, and the other recent empirical work assessing the
male role (see, for example, Blanc 1993; Ekouevi, Fegan & Barrere 1991;
Ezeh 1991), utilized DHS data collected under the auspices of the Institute for
ResourceDevelopment/MacroInternational, Inc., in conjunction with various
local (national) authorities.
The current paper uses independently collected data to corroborate the
DHS ﬁndings. Beyond this value of veriﬁcation, the study also provides
empirical evidence of men’s relative power as acknowledged by both women
and men. Such ﬁndings have strong suggestive value for the direction of
current population policy, and beg more attention for the contribution of men
to reproductive decision making and behavior.