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Birth control: Why is it only the responsibility of women to use birth control?

 

Birth control Why is it only the responsibility of women to use birth control

In almost all countries of the world, including Bangladesh, birth control methods are mainly used by women. All but two of the publicly promoted family planning methods in Bangladesh are for women.


Almost all of these have side effects that women have to endure.

Pharmaceutical companies around the world also invest in research methods of birth control, mainly for women. The burden of birth control remains solely on women.

The Burden of side effects

Sirajum Munira, a resident of Dhaka, got married a few years ago. A child has also been born after the marriage. After that, both working husband and wife decided to take a break for now.

Sirajum Munira says, when he went to the doctor, he was advised to take an injection every three months. But since he started taking it, he has had to endure various side effects.

She says, “Like now I’m very fat. My stomach is swollen. My stomach aches a lot. And because of taking the injection, when it expires, my period continues for fifteen to twenty days straight. It doesn’t want to stop. After I went to the hospital Doctor Apa told me that this is happening because of the injection. Fat has accumulated in the stomach, so the stomach feels fat. I used to take pills. If I take them, I will vomit. Now I vomit even if I look at the pills.”


Sirajum Munira said her husband was not interested in using any method. A bit embarrassed, he said, “He doesn’t want to use condoms. He says he doesn’t like using condoms. So I’m using this method.”

What do men think?
Trying to talk to men about birth control on the streets of Dhaka, one or two felt annoyed.

Atwar Hossain, a security guard at a residential building in Dhaka. When asked to talk about men’s responsibility in using birth control, he first laughed out loud.

She says, “Using methods is the woman’s responsibility. She has to maintain everything. It’s the woman’s responsibility because she has everything. That’s why she gets pregnant.”

“There are condoms for men……then……I don’t know anything else,” says Mohammad Zaheer about what methods are available for men.

Asked if he uses any method, a Dhaka grocer, who did not want to be named, said, “No…my madam (wife) uses pills. I couldn’t tell.”

Birth control Why is it only the responsibility of women to use birth control

Program targeting women

He does not know about birth control methods, as there is no campaign for men and there are more methods and materials available for women. Because socially it is considered a woman’s responsibility. It is also reflected in the state program.
All but two of the methods couples are encouraged to use in government family planning programs are for women. It is clear just by browsing the website of the family planning department of the government.
Methods mentioned include birth control pills, copper tea, birth control injections, ligation, and birth control implants placed under the skin. All these are for women.
And for men, condoms and vasectomy are mentioned.
According to the Family Planning Directorate, the most used birth control implant in Bangladesh. Then there is the copper T and the injection.
The side effects are also written in the leaflet available on the website for each procedure.
For example, using Copper-T can cause lower abdominal pain, regular spotting, and bleeding.


Sometimes inflammation can occur. Birth control capsules placed under the skin can cause irregular periods or heavy bleeding. It May cause headaches. Weight gain may occur.
Female users also have similar problems with injections. Diet pills affect hormones. Menstruation decreases. The vagina becomes dry.

emotional burden

It is not mentioned anywhere that there is mental pain from taking pills regularly every day.
“This is the regularity to maintain. I have to set an alarm on my phone. Sometimes I forget it. If it’s a little here and there, I have to wait for my period again. This has become a mental pressure for me. When the doctor first mentioned the pill, I thought it was just one medicine that should be taken regularly. But now it seems like trouble to me. It is a pain to keep this regularity,” said an unnamed woman, who has been married for six months. She can’t even tell her husband about her problem.

Ideas about the way of men

A recent study by the non-governmental organization Samgira Kari found that more than 98 percent of women are using birth control.
This information was found in the research conducted on violence against women and reproductive health during the corona period in 26 Upazilas of the country.
Zubaida Nasreen, a teacher in the Anthropology Department of Dhaka University, led this research.
He says they found a variety of common misconceptions about men’s responsibility to use birth control. He was referring to male procedure condoms and vasectomy.
He says, “There are myths about condoms such as the condom goes into the stomach, tears, the slippery substance in the condom is harmful. There are also some myths about vasectomy locally. Like the virility is gone. The physical strength of the man will decrease. His sexual energy will decrease. Men’s minds will become irritable. Men’s importance will decrease. Their value will decrease in society and the world. Women feel the same.”
He says condom use is encouraged in Bangladesh as a way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Not as a birth control method.

Birth control Why is it only the responsibility of women to use birth control

Trade in birth control methods.

Globally, there has been more campaigning and investment in birth control methods for women. Research into the effectiveness of birth control methods and the discovery of new methods has also been done with the female body in mind.

In 2019, the first male birth control pill was initially tested as safe for the human body, but it has not been released to the market.

Shaswati Biplab, head of the social empowerment program at the non-governmental development organization BRAC, says that beyond the social perception that women will use birth control because they will become pregnant, there are also commercial interests involved. And that’s why birth control systems are created with women’s bodies in mind.

In his words, “A woman is able to conceive a child at a certain time of the month and not the rest of the time. Once she is pregnant, she cannot reproduce throughout the year. But a man is always able. If you think about it, birth control methods are more for men. Recommended. But the people who make and sell birth control do market research. They know what will sell best. Men’s methods won’t sell. They know women’s will sell best.”

Overall, women do not have the power to make independent decisions about the use of birth control. Disadvantages are rarely reported in government campaigns on birth control.

Women have to shoulder the burden of birth control, bearing the painful side effects and stress of routine use. This is seen in both society and state policies.

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