Background: Although there is global recognition of the importance of involving men in family planning and reproductive health matters, this issue has received insufficient attention in many countries. The present study sought to characterize married Indonesian males as to their level of involvement in family planning, identify the correlates thereof and assess the implications of male involvement for unmet need for family planning. Methods: A mixed methods research design was used. The main source of quantitative data was 2017 Indonesian Demographic Health Survey (IDHS) data from 8,380 married couples. The underlying “dimensions” of male involvement were identified via factor analysis. The correlates of male involvement were assessed via comparisons across the four dimensions of male involvement identified in the factor analysis. Outcomes were assessed by comparing women’s and couple’s unmet need for family planning for the four underlying dimensions of male involvement. Qualitative data were collected via focus group discussions with four groups of key informants. Results: Indonesian male involvement as family planning clients remains limited, with only 8% of men using a contraceptive method at the time of the 2017 IDHS. However, factor analyses revealed three other independent “dimensions” of male involvement, two of which (along with male contraceptive use) were associated with significantly lower odds of female unmet need for family planning. Male involvement as clients and passive male approval of family planning, which in Indonesia empowers females take action to avoid unwanted pregnancies, were associated with 23% and 35% reductions in female unmet need, respectively. The analyses suggest that age, education, geographic residence, knowledge of contraceptive methods, and media exposure distinguish men with higher levels of involvement. Socially mandated gender roles concerning family planning and perceived limited programmatic attention to males highlight the quantitative findings. Conclusions: Indonesian males are involved in family planning in several ways, although women continue to bear most of the responsibility for realizing couple reproductive aspirations. Gender transformative programming that addresses broader gender issues and targets priority sub-groups of men as well as health service providers, community and religious leaders would seem to be the way forward.
- Family planning
- Male involvement