By: Lisbeth Vogensen*
One common indicator used in many family planning and sexual and reproductive health research documents is that of unmet need for contraception/family planning (see Figure 1). In most cases, this unmet need indicator is followed by this description: percentage of women aged 15 to 49 who are married or in a union (1). Running into this indicator not only makes the feminist inside me stand up in protest, it also lets me know that the information presented on unmet need is incomplete. This unmet need data that only includes women who are married (2) is then generalized to be representative of the entire country/region/world.
Figure 1: Percentage of women with an unmet need for family planning (any method) among those aged 15 to 49 who are married or in a union: most recent data available
Source: World Contraceptive Patterns 2013 (United Nations, 2013), available from www.unpopulation.org.