Who decides? Women's status and negotiation of sex in Uganda

Abstract

Women's ability to negotiate the timing and conditions of sex with their partners is central to their ability to control a variety of reproductive health outcomes. Focus group discussions and survey data from 1356 women and their regular male partners in two districts in Uganda were analysed to explore the nature of sexual negotiation and to test hypotheses about the influence of women's work and marriage institutions on norms and behaviour regarding sexual decision making. Sexual negotiation is characterized by four stages starting with normative precedent for decision making about sex and progressing to communication, disagreement, and conflict resolution. Men are generally reported to have more influence over sex in these settings, but women can and do refuse sex under a variety of circumstances. Education and urban residence consistently enhance women's ability to negotiate sex. The effect of marriage and women's work characteristics depends strongly on district context. We speculate that certain types of bridewealth agreement inhibit a woman's ability to influence timing and conditions of sex independently of other 'bargaining' resources she may control.

Citation

B. Wolff; A. K. Blanc; A. J. Gage. Who decides? Women’s status and negotiation of sex in Uganda. Culture Health and Sexuality (2000) 2 (3) 303-322. [DOI: 10.1080/136910500422278]

Who decides? Women’s status and negotiation of sex in Uganda

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