Scientific article

The family planning service and the pill in Geneva (1965–1980): a step towards women's emancipation?

ContributorsBurgnard, Sylvie
Published inThe history of the family, vol. 20, p. 24-40
Publication date2015

In 1965, a family planning service was created in Geneva which aimed at spreading information on contraception. This article focuses on the attitude of the centre vis-à-vis the new contraceptive methods, especially the pill, and puts it in perspective with other voices, such as those of feminists. In order to address the question of women's emancipation, it relies on the archives of the family planning centre and of the Women's Liberation Movement of Geneva. The centre's pedagogical discourse about contraception focuses on stable couples and a rational attitude towards reproduction and family planning. It reflects the dominance of medical theories in the field of sexuality in Geneva during this period. The author suggests that the centre's approach to contraception contributed to the diffusion of a new contraceptive norm by combining contraceptive information with messages concerning the proper type of relationship, the state of mind and even the feelings with which contraception should be associated. The sources, however, also suggest a gap between the messages delivered and actual uses made of the centre. While maintaining a conservative and normative discourse, the family planning service nevertheless gave women the possibility to increase their autonomy.

Citation (ISO format)
BURGNARD, Sylvie. The family planning service and the pill in Geneva (1965–1980): a step towards women’s emancipation? In: The history of the family, 2015, vol. 20, p. 24–40. doi: 10.1080/1081602X.2014.987308
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1081-602X

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