Do men discuss birth control? A social network analysis in Bangladesh

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Family planning programs have made significant contributions to lowering fertility levels in several developing nations. These advances often focus on women as the main agents of population control, ignoring the important role of men. However, in many countries/cultures decisions about fertility are highly embedded in social relationships at all levels, which make it imperative to investigate men’s position in the social structure. This study explores the relationship structures between men in Bangladesh using social network analysis to explore new possibilities for cost-effective healthcare strategies that have more far-reaching effects than the status quo. The results of this research show that men are embedded in un-fragmented and diffuse communication structures, formed across age and educational divide, beyond the bounds of kinship relations and village boundaries. Not only do men not shy away from discussion of contraceptives, but also approve and support their use. Men’s networks, thus, provide a potentially rich, but untapped, channel of communication for effectively and efficiently disseminating population control initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Structure
Issue number2
Early online date27 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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