Womens ability to negotiate safer sex with husband

Export Indicator

The percent of respondents who believe that, if her husband has an STI, a wife can either refuse to have sex with him or propose condom use, of all respondents having heard of STIs aged 15-49 in a population-based survey
What it measures

This indicator is designed to measure public perception of a woman’s negotiating power in sex. It is confined to exploring norms within marriage, which in some cultures define a woman’s sexual universe. By specifying that the husband has an STI, the indicator measures attitudes to a woman’s ability to protect herself from the known risk behaviour of her husband.

Method of measurement

This indicator is based on a hypothetical question put to respondents in a survey. Both men and women are asked to respond to a question about whether a woman can refuse sex with her husband if he has a STI, or can ask him to use a condom. The question is more specific than “can a woman protect herself” in this situation. In past use of the question, people have responded that a woman can protect herself, and on further questioning have responded that she can take medication. This has no bearing on her negotiating power, and so is excluded by the question.

Measurement frequency

Education: N/A

Gender: N/A

Geographic location: N/A

Pregnancy status: N/A

Sector: N/A

Target: N/A

Time period: N/A

Type of orphan: N/A

Vulnerability status: N/A

Explanation of the numerator
Explanation of the denominator
Strengths and weaknesses

This is a useful indicator in areas where the rights of women within a sexual relationship are known to be low, and where efforts are being made to increase women’s power to protect themselves in situations of known risk. A low score on this indicator may be very powerful in advocacy. Earlier attempts at broader questioning (for example simply “Is it acceptable for a woman to refuse sex with her husband?”) are hard to interpret. This is because there are many cultural situations in which it is acceptable (and indeed may be culturally prescribed) to refuse sex, such as for a certain number of weeks or months following the birth of a child, or during menses. The ability of a woman to refuse sex during these times may elicit a positive response to the survey question, but does not reflect a woman’s ability to negotiate sex with her husband at other times.

Further information