More Than 160 Million Women Worldwide Lack Access to Contraception

by Vins

Globally, more than 160 million women are unable to access contraception, according to a July 2022 article by the Guardian that cited the largest study of its kind. Of that number, roughly half live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, according to the Global Burden of Diseases study based at the University of Washington, in Seattle. Overall, the unmet need is highest in younger women.

Although there has been an improvement in contraception use since 1970, improvements need to continue since “as many as one in 14  women worldwide who wanted contraception were not using it in 2019,” according to the most comprehensive assessment of global contraception, published in the Lancet. The proportion of women globally using contraception increased from 28 percent in 1970 to 48 percent in  2019. Even with the improvement, 163 million women remained in need in 2019.  Region and age play a significant role in contraception use. Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania had 90 percent of their demand satisfied while sub-Saharan Africa only had 52 percent of their demand for contraceptives satisfied. In 2019, the unmet need was highest in South Sudan (35 percent), Central African Republic (29 percent), and Vanuatu (28 percent). Compared with other groups, women ages 15-24 were least likely to be able to access contraception. Contraception use is most important in this age group since it can help women stay in school, get other training opportunities, and maintain employment which leads to greater gender equity.

The Indian Express is the only corporate newspaper that published an article about this story. It provides all of the data but misses out on why the information is important. The reason the lack of contraception is such a large issue is that it is needed to create greater gender equity.

Source: Andrew Gregory, “More Than 160m Women Unable to Get Contraception They Need, Study Finds,” The Guardian, July 21, 2022.

Students Researcher: Emily Pieczyrak (Drew University)

Faculty Evaluator: Lisa Lynch (Drew University)