Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article
Title Globalization and family planning in Guatemala
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
URL https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/handle/1811/45661
Abstract
Guatemalan women, and sometimes men, desire to use contraceptives despite the unavoidable cultural and lifestyles changes taking place, because most of them want to achieve the many benefits family planning offers, even if it requires cultural adjustment. Although considered one of the more progressive countries in terms of family planning in the 1970s, more recent reports indicate only 38% of the Guatemalan population uses any form of contraception, the lowest rate of use in Latin America behind Haiti. In response to this low rate of use, many international organizations strive to improve knowledge about and access to contraceptives and other family planning methods. International influences, particularly those of modern or westernized cultures, play a major role in the provision and education about family planning in Guatemala. With such prevalent international influence, one might wonder if this pressure to increase contraceptive use and family planning may challenge Guatemalan cultures and compromise their way of life. Estimates suggest 40-60% of the Guatemalan population is of indigenous decent; a culture that differentiates greatly from modern culture. Increased contraceptive use or other methods of family planning appear as a logical solution to the high birth rate that results in children that may not have access to adequate nutrition and resources. Nevertheless, the use of contraceptives does not exist as a simple medical solution. The cultural impact of introducing and promoting this modern method of family planning suggests a negative aspect to what is seen as an overwhelmingly positive movement to decrease birthrate, empower women, and improve overall health statistics within the country. However, despite the unavoidable cultural and lifestyles changes taking place, these changes are not necessarily negative because the desire to use contraceptives comes from the Guatemalan women (and sometimes men). Many Guatemalan women want to achieve the many benefits family planning offers, even if it requires cultural adjustment. Through field work in Guatemala City and analysis of existing literature, I investigate the role that westernized countries have in the prevalence of contraceptives and family planning in Guatemala and the cultural barriers that impede their use. I explore the interaction of these two seemingly conflicting forces in an increasingly globalized world, and the potential cultural implications of this interaction.

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