Influence of gender roles and responsibilities on family planning decisions in adults, in Karachi, Pakistan: A qualitative analysis of open-ended interviews

Document Type



Psychiatry; School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan


Background: In Pakistan, the slow pace of declining fertility rate accounts for troubling consequences like multiple pregnancies, induced abortions, the low 34% contraceptive prevalence rate, and overpopulation. This coupled with the lack of literature on this topic in the country makes it pivotal to explore the gender roles and responsibilities of adults in marital life and within the family and their influence on Family Planning decisions in adults, in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods: The study design involved purposive selection of 12 consenting married adults belonging to Gulberg Town, from whom detailed qualitative data was collected using open-ended, semi-structured interviews, supported by field notes. For the sake of anonymity, participants were assigned codes. Furthermore, all discussions were conducted in English or Urdu language by the female investigator herself and were audio recorded after obtaining participants’ consent. Thereafter, a rigorous thematic analysis of the interviews was carried out, with the results being double-checked before being securely stored in soft or hard copy.
Results: The study observations identified that gender roles and responsibilities do affect Family Planning decisions in Pakistan. The results were broadly categorized into two themes: superficial reasons and deeper reasons affecting FP decisions. The first theme has three main categories; interpretation of FP, awareness about FP, and couple as representative of FP decision making whereas the second theme has five categories; roles and responsibilities of men in the family, roles and responsibilities of women in the family, women autonomy, mind the gap or taming the women, and way forward.
Conclusions: Our study findings suggest that while superficial reasons must be resolved, it is primarily crucial to eliminate the subtler, tap root factors influencing FP decisions by strongly addressing school curricula, nurses and other Health Care Workers (HCWs) to positively impact the society. Further qualitative and quantitative research is ultimately necessary for assessing the viewpoint of important stakeholders and how, using a multiprong approach, the stringent perceptions pertaining to Family Planning can be altered to benefit the society.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Research Square