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Guatemala

  • By: Keri L. Heitner
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The Republic of Guatemala is a former Spanish colony bordered by Mexico to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and has a large indigenous population. Fertility rates are high; early union and childbearing are the norm. Divorce is rare. Gender roles have evolved as more women have entered the labor force. The Catholic Church's opposition to birth control has influenced government policies, although there is universal free access to contraception. Use of modern contraceptives is low, however. Many women lack skilled prenatal care and birth attendants. Educational attainment is low. Women's organizations founded during the 36-year civil war work for resolution and justice.

The fertility rate of 4.4 lifetime births per woman and the adolescent birthrate are among the highest in Central ...

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