Accepted Paper:

Gendered body in family planning in Indonesia  


Etsuko Matsuoka (Nara Women's University)

Paper short abstract:

The research reveals that family planning in Indonesia constructs wives’ body so that their fertility comes under government control. Despite the initial government enforcement, couples now voluntarily accept family planning as they have developed their agency to choose a smaller family.

Paper long abstract:

This study is based on group interviews to total of 48 men and women at Pontianak, Indonesia in 2009. Of those 48, there are 42 married women, 2 husbands, 2 bidan (licensed midwife), 2 nurses and 2 dukun (TBA). Family planning, KB for short in Indonesian language, has been promoted extensively since 1970 under the slogan of community participation and targeted almost solely married women, exclusive of men and unmarried women. Interviewed women expressed various side effects including weight gain, irregular bleeding, lack of menstruation etc, which were interpreted as natural process to reshape women's body into that of proper wives'. This shows that KB, rather than neutral contraceptive information for both genders, is asymmetrically focused on female and aims to construct wives' body so that their fertility comes under government continuous monitoring and control. The fact that condom, which is a major method of contraception in Japan, does not count as KB in Indonesia illus

trates that KB is for married couples, comes in the context of medicine and should be continuous. In contrast, condom is associated with out of marriage relationships, with market rather than medicine and temporariness.

Although KB was originally implemented with strong government initiatives, couples now voluntarily accept it, not because they have learned the benefit of smaller family but because they are compelled to choose it in order to survive in a global economy. This shows that active desire to control fertility has been generated within couples in order to meet the needs of global economy surrounding Indonesia.

Panel P067
Gendered work and gendered body in the globalizing world