MIRWAH, Pakistan — Shazia Shahid, a community health educator, went to the tiny house to speak with the slight young woman about birth control. It was morning, a good time because the woman’s husband was out working. But the woman shrank behind a green veil — and behind her wizened mother-in-law, who smiled but made clear that she saw no need to discuss the topic.
It was a typical exchange in this remote village, and in much of the nation. In fits and starts, public and private agencies in Pakistan are advocating contraception to curb the country’s surging population, prevent deaths during childbirth and help provide better lives for those who are born. But in this deeply conservative society, women themselves are often the least able to decide, and the people who can — husbands, mullahs, mothers-in-law — still prize many children, particularly boys.
Read the complete story(Some news sites require registration)