The impact of family planning on women’s educational advancement in Tehran, Iran

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Amir Erfani, Nipissing University, Canada

The literature documenting drastic fertility declines in developing countries has largely focused on investigating the determinants of contraceptive use and the role contraceptives have played in declining fertility rates. In contrast, there has been limited research on the impact of family planning use on women’s social status. Using retrospective data from the 2009 Tehran Fertility Survey, this study examined the impact of contraceptive use on women’s educational advancement as an indicator of women’s empowerment.

Multinomial logistic analyses indicated that compared with contraceptive nonusers, women using modern contraceptives before a first birth were more likely to experience a one to two year increase in education level after marriage, when controlling for other factors. Women in the most recent marriage cohorts were more likely to continue their education after marriage, especially those who were using modern contraceptives as opposed to traditional methods. Findings of this research clearly indicate that family planning use after marriage enables women to improve their education by freeing them from reproductive activities.