Modern contraceptive prevalence rates differ across Southeast Asian countries due to the different levels of socio-economic development, cultural practices, and women’s empowerment. This study investigates the relationship between women’s empowerment and modern contraceptive use in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and the Philippines, where Demographic and Health Surveys data are available. The main study variables include modern contraceptive use (as measured by the percentage of married women aged 15-49 currently using a modern contraceptive method) and women’s empowerment measures, which include asset ownership, household decision-making, and attitudes towards spousal violence. Binary logistic regression is used to assess the association between modern contraceptive use and women’s empowerment, controlling for the effects of women’s age, education, work status, exposure to mass media, exposure to family planning via media, place of residence, wealth index, age at marriage, and number of living children. Results show that pills and injections were commonly used across the countries under study. Multivariate analysis reveals that women with greater empowerment were more likely to use a modern contraceptive method, but the effect varied across women’s empowerment indicators. It is important to empower women in the household as disempowered women tend to neglect their rights to access primary health care, which could jeopardize their health. Hence, empowering women remains an important agenda for improving modern contraceptive use within Southeast Asian countries.

Author Biography

Chiew Way Ang is a Ph.D. graduate from the Faculty of Business and Economics, Universiti Malaya, where she obtained her Ph.D. in Applied Statistics. Her research interests include demographic analysis, gender studies and public health.

Siow Li Lai is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Economics, Universiti Malaya (UM), where she obtained her Ph.D. in Demography, Master’s in Applied Statistics, and Bachelor’s in Economics. She is the Coordinator of the Population Studies Unit (PSU). She is also the Data Manager and Liaison Officer between UM and the Department of Statistics, Malaysia (DOSM). Her research focuses on demographic analysis, population studies, public and reproductive health, and gender studies.