Continuous access to birth control and contraception has enabled women to have more economic success.
Birth Control became popular in 1914 because of Margaret Sanger. She opened the first birth control clinic in 1916 but was shut down less than two weeks later because it violated the Cornstock Act.
Due to the work of Sanger as well as other prominent feminists and doctors, birth control became one of the mainstream topics in the U.S., despite being a sensitive topic for many people. The U.S. attitude about birth control changed drastically between the 1920s and the 1950s as it raised questions about personal freedom, values, sexual morality and social welfare.
The first birth control pills were created in the 1950s, but weren’t widely unavailable until the 1960s, when the Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut gave married couples the right to use contraceptives. The right was later extended to unmarried couples in 1972.
In an article published on Pandia Health, a medical company established to improve women’s health, Sophia Yen, the co-founder, wrote on how access to birth control has been the top economic enabler for women.
“Research indicates that one-third of the wage gains that women have made since the 1960’s is the direct result of their access to the birth control pill,” Yen wrote.
The article discusses that children, planned or not, cost money and when women are unable to choose when to have them, they can miss out on job opportunities as well as significantly decrease their earnings.
Birth control also contributes to the increase of college enrollment among women, which also contributes to higher life time wages.
“Having access to the pill before 21 is the biggest driving factor in enabling women to stay in college if they are already enrolled. College enrollment in 1970 was 20% higher among women who could access the pill than women who could not.” Yen said.
Many women on college campuses across the country use various forms of contraceptives for an array of reasons. ASU student Ariana Jakovljevic, 18-years-old, said that the reason she uses contraceptives is not only in order to prevent pregnancy.
“I had used hormonal contraceptives for acne regulation and condoms to prevent STDs and STIs in addition to also preventing pregnancy,” said Jakovljevic.
Caitlin Johnson, 20-years-old, has medical reasons for only using solely one type of contraception.
“I use condoms because the hormones in most types of birth control can interact badly with my antidepressants and anxiety medication,” said Johnson.
Gabi Gotcher, an ASU nursing student, has experiences of using multiple different contraception methods, and found one more useful than most.
“I have changed birth control methods multiple times. First I was on the pill, and then I changed to the Nexplanon arm implant. Both of them have worked well for me, the arm implant is just easier and more efficient,” said Gotcher.