Published: Feb. 21, 2022

An article in A&S Magazine profiles the research and impact that Professor Menken's work has had in Bangladesh. Written by Lisa Marshall, the article linked below is a great overview of Professor Menken's long-term research and advocacy.


"Decades-long CU Boulder-led study shows access to family planning shapes lives for generations

On a sweltering July day in 1984, Jane Menken stepped off a plane in the teeming capital city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, boarded a van for a dusty, four-hour journey to the remote villages to the south and embarked on a decades-long quest to answer a question of global importance:

What happens when women gain the ability to control their reproductive destiny?

Just 13 years earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had written off the newly born nation of Bangladesh as a famine-stricken and insolvent “basket case.” With 64 million people in a region about the size of Wisconsin, it was the most densely populated non-island country on the planet. And with a fertility rate of seven children per woman, about 14% dying before their first birthday, it was considered the poster child for those warning of an impending “population bomb.”

Jane Menken

At the top of the page: Jane Menken during her time in Bangladesh. Photo provided by Jane Menken/Glenn Asakawa. Above: Jane Menken, now a Distinguished Professor at CU Boulder, is considered a pioneer in her field and one of the first researchers to prioritize women and their desires about childbearing. Photo by Glenn Asakawa.

But by the time Menken arrived, a transformation was quietly brewing—one woman at a time.

In the conservative Muslim district of Matlab, where she was headed, a nongovernmental organization had begun to provide free, in-home contraceptive access to tens of thousands of women, otherwise secluded due to religious customs that require women to segregate themselves from men."

Read the full article here.