The Impact of Traditional Gender Interactions and Beliefs on Sexual and Reproductive Behavior of Young Women Living in a Slum Area of Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Alessandra S. Chacham, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais
Malco Camargos, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais

This study explored how traditional gender interactions and adherence to traditional gender beliefs influence sexual and reproductive behavior of impoverished young women living in a favela (slum) of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. We analyzed data from a survey performed on a random sample of 356 young women between 15 and 24 years old. We found that young women who held stereotypical beliefs regarding gender roles on family, economy and sexuality were more likely to have had sex and gotten pregnant than women with less adherence to traditional gender beliefs. The latter were more likely to have had sex and not gotten pregnant and also to have never had sexual intercourse. Some indicators of autonomous behavior among young women such as having discussed with partner about condom use before first intercourse, desired their first intercourse and decided together with partner on contraceptive use were also associated with a lower frequency of pregnancy.

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Presented in Session 57: Implications of Gender Interactions and Ideologies for Reproductive Behavior