Condoms are good but a growing number of married women in India feel traditional contraception methods are better.
Over the past decade, they have shown growing preference and trust for traditional contraception methods like withdrawal and periodic abstinence, according to a government report based on data from across the country.
Married women using the withdrawal method in 2004, the year the data was compiled, was 2.9 per cent — up from 1.3 per cent in 1993. In case of periodic abstinence, in which unsafe intercourse is avoided during the end of menstrual cycle, the figure increased to 4.2 per cent from 2.6 per cent in 1993.
Use of traditional methods, like keeping calendar record of the assumed days of ovulation, increased from 4.3 per cent to 7.3 per cent, making it more preferred than condoms. Only 4.8 per cent married women preferred condoms.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare submitted the report on Population Stabilisation to the Planning Commission last month. The report, prepared by a group headed by ministry secretary Naresh Dayal, highlighted another trend: more women were getting sterilised.
While female sterilization was 34.3 in 2004 as compared to 27.3 in 1993, male sterilization went down to 0.9 per cent from 3.4 per cent in 1992-93. The trend showed that “males are the main decision makers in Indian families”, the report said, adding that no-scalpel vasectomy should be promoted to bring the men in.
The probable reason given for fall in vasectomy cases was “excesses committed for male sterilization in the 1970s”.
With men lacking initiative on contraception, women have taken a lead. Only 6 per cent of married men used contraceptive methods against 53 per cent married women.
The past decade also witnessed a leap forward in awareness of contraceptives among women with an increase in figures by 13 percentage points, the report said. The data was collected from 593 districts across the country.