Attitudes and Behaviour of Women in Kosovo and Metohija Relevant for the Population Policy
A need for extensive investigation of the phenomenon of births in Kosovo and Metohija arises from the fact that our knowledge is almost exclusively based on the population census data (the last census for the whole territory of the province was taken in 1981), vital statistics (reliable data are available for years up to 1989) and two representative surveys (conducted in 1970 and 1976). A more comprehensive insight into fertility and population reproduction is needed in order to formulate population policy measures for which there has been an abject need for some time already. In February 1998, a pilot survey was conducted on the sample of 116 women who had given birth in three different types of maternity wards in Kosovo and Metohija. Despite methodological limitations with regard to the size and manner of the sample selection, its composition was satisfactory in terms of basic social and demographic characteristics as shown by the comparison with vital statistics for 1989 and 1994. This paper discusses behaviour and attitudes expressed by women which are of relevance to the population policy. This should enable an assessment of the elements of receptiveness or its dynamics following application of measures that take into account the needs of women in terms of reproductive behaviour of a certain population. The analysis of the results points to both the dominant role and a process of transformation in the traditional reproductive behaviour and attitudes of women. In terms of value standards and desired situations, a higher level of modification and dissolution of traditional barriers may be observed. However, even in the domain of standards of social value, differences may be observed with regard to the degree of openness to change, which is much more intense in terms of general attitudes than in those closely affecting the lives of those surveyed. This naturally causes certain inconsistencies and the ambivalence in statements given by the women surveyed, which is very characteristic of transitional stage and also inevitably reflects contradictions in behaviour. However, numerous findings point to the formation of positive receptiveness, which is an essential element of the population climate needed for implementation of the family planning programs as well as for designing the population policy measures. On one hand, this would facilitate the satisfaction of current needs and, on the other, especially through further education, accelerate the process of their transformation in the domain of reproductive behaviour and the place of women in society. In other words, as shown by the level of development of needs of the women surveyed, implementation of the family planning program is most urgently required in order to speed up transformation of the economic and psychological cost of parenthood as a social role of women.
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