Community Classroom

Birth Control in India: Women's Stories, Health and Technology

Birth control in India presentation poster
Author: Urvi Desai

A part of the Gender, Health and Social Justice Speaker Series

By the early 1930s, contraceptives such as diaphragms, condoms, tonics, birth control pills, foam powders, jellies and chemical contraceptives had entered Indian markets. Contraceptive products that were aggressively promoted as scientific and modern were often questionable when it came to safety and efficacy. Moreover, dangers arose from patronizing leadership, both colonial and postcolonial, that upheld rather than contested existing power structures. Indeed, India’s independence and the institution of democracy offered little relief regarding maternal health, and most women themselves went unheard in discussions that affected them directly. 

The Gender, Health and Social Justice Speaker Series kicked off on Friday, November 19 with Birth Control in India: Women’s Stories, Health and Technology, 1930s-60s, presented by Urvi Desai, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at McGill University and McGill–Ingenium Fellow. Her research discusses the history of birth control markets in Bombay. Her archival work includes sources in Gujarati, Hindi, and Marathi. Watch her presentation: 

The Gender, Health and Social Justice Speaker Series is jointly presented by Dr. Whitney Wood, VIU’s Canada Research Chair in the Historical Dimensions of Women’s Health, and Dr. Erika Dyck, Canada Research Chair in Health and Social Justice at the University of Saskatchewan. It was organized by Dr. Karissa Patton, a VIU Canada Research Chair Post-Doctoral Fellow, and Letitia Johnson, a PhD Candidate from the University of Saskatchewan. 


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