‘They think it's all up to the girls’: Gender, risk and responsibility for contraception

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Abstract

Much research suggests that attitudes towards responsibility for use of contraception amongst young people are strongly gendered. However, decision making, if ‘decisions’ happen at all, is bound up with notions of hegemonic masculine and feminine roles as well as factors concerning relationship status. Data from two earlier qualitative studies were re-analysed with an emphasis on findings related to gender and responsibility for use of contraception. The first study investigated unintended conceptions amongst 16–20-year-old women. Interviews focused on knowledge and views about contraception, sex education and sexual health services. The second study involved focus groups with two groups of 14–18-year-old men to explore their views on sex education, sexual health and contraception. Almost all the young women said that young men viewed contraception as ‘not their job’. In contrast, the young men thought that responsibility should be shared. The key issue, however, related to relationship status, with decision-making being shared in long-term relationships. There are some gender differences in accounting for decisions about use of contraception, however the key issue revolves around relationship status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-325
Number of pages14
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2015

Keywords

  • contraception
  • gender
  • responsibility
  • risk
  • young people

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