Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Birth control good for education, women’s work, growth in Africa

Date:
October 23, 2013
Source:
Radboud University Nijmegen
Summary:
Short birth spacing reduces the chances of African children to go to school. Mothers of shortly spaced children have less opportunity to work and their households generate less wealth. However, the good news is: access to contraceptives and information campaigns reduce these problems as they enable women to plan their births better.

Short birth spacing reduces the chances of African children to go to school. Mothers of shortly spaced children have less opportunity to work and their households generate less wealth. However, the good news is: access to contraceptives and information campaigns reduce these problems as they enable women to plan their births better. This is the outcome of the doctoral research of Abiba Longwe, who defends her PhD thesis on 23 October at Radboud University Nijmegen.

Abiba Longwe, who recently returned to her home country Malawi after four years in Nijmegen, researched the effects of family planning on African mothers, their children, their households and the regions in which they live. To do this she used the Database Developing World, built by her supervisor Jeroen Smits, which contains data on living conditions, education, work, health and other characteristics of millions of persons in more than a hundred developing countries (www.datdevworld.org). In four studies, Longwe compared data on mothers and children in 250 regions of 30 African countries.

Which mothers work less?

Longwe discovered that African women who have more children and shorter birth intervals due to unmet need for family planning are less involved in paid work. She also found the labour market opportunities of educated and urban women to be affected most. According to Longwe, the kind of jobs more highly educated women hold may play a role; unskilled work more often can be carried out close to the home or with a child on one's back. And urban women less often live in an extended family, where grandparents or other family members can look after the children.

Birth intervals and children's schooling Short birth intervals also affect young children's schooling. Longwe's research shows that children born shortly after each other are less likely to go to primary school. This result is new; the consequences of short birth intervals for educational participation and other socio-economic outcomes in Africa have not yet been studied much. Longwe: 'Whereas negative effects on the health of mothers and children have been well documented, this type of long-term effects have received much less attention.'

Campaigns on family planning have effect

She does, however, see reasons for hope, as her research also shows that information campaigns on family planning have effect. 'We see that such campaigns may lead to increasing acceptance and use of contraceptives, and through this to a reduction in the numbers of births, which in turn is associated with an increase in children's educational participation and rising household wealth.'

Interestingly, Longwe also discovered that the increases in knowledge, acceptance and use of contraceptives are greater in regions with a higher educational level. This catalyst role of education indicates that by informing women about contraceptives and making them easily available, a positive feedback loop can be started in which better family planning increases the possibilities of children to go to school, as a result of which the future educational level of the region rises, which helps new generations to even better plan their pregnancies. The fact that women who have access to contraceptives have also more possibilities to work may give an extra boost to the development of poor African regions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Radboud University Nijmegen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Radboud University Nijmegen. "Birth control good for education, women’s work, growth in Africa." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023090544.htm>.
Radboud University Nijmegen. (2013, October 23). Birth control good for education, women’s work, growth in Africa. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023090544.htm
Radboud University Nijmegen. "Birth control good for education, women’s work, growth in Africa." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023090544.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins