The objectives of the study were: (1)
To study the role of mass media as a medium of communicating population
education to women living in slums. (2) To study the socio-economic and
cultural conditions of the respondents. (3) To study the extent of
exposure of slum women to eight selected population education messages
relayed over TV on Doordarshan during prime time. (4) To study the role
of TV as a medium of communicating population education by determining
the respondents’ understanding of the eight messages in terms of initial
response, semantics, comprehension, as well as determining their
attitudes towards the issues in population education depicted through
the messages. (5) To make a comparative study of the differences in the
respondents’ understanding in terms of initial response, semantics,
comprehension of the eight TV messages and their attitude towards the
issues of the messages and the effect on them of socio-economic and
The sample comprised of 100 women in the age group of 17-40 years living in the slums of Sainath Nagar Part I and II in Borivali East, a Western suburb in Mumbai. The purposive sampling was used for carrying out door-to- door house survey.
An interview schedule, semantic test, comprehension test and attitude scale were prepared by the investigator for data collection.
The study was descriptive survey type.
Data were analyzed by using mean, percentage, chi-square, and contingency coefficient.
The findings of the study were: (1) The education of the respondents in relation to other socio-economic and cultural conditions showed that 35% respondents had no schooling. Among them 60% were from the age group 21-30 years. More Muslim women had no schooling in comparison to the Hindu Women. More Marathi speaking respondents were educated at the primary and middle school level than the Gujarati and Hindi speaking respondents. More husbands of Marathi speaking respondents were educated up to 8-10 years. A large section of respondents who had no schooling used one or more than one contraceptive methods just as the respondents educated up to 8-10 years did. But the respondents in the lower education categories did not opt for tubectomy as a birth control method. (2) Fertility of the respondents in relation to their age and education revealed that 25% women’s fertility was 3 children who were of age 17-20 and 21-25 years. At this age, there is a greater likelihood of bearing more children in the future in case of infant mortality or the need for a male child. 25% respondents’ fertility was 4 children. Among them a majority had no schooling. (3) Media exposure prior to the present study showed that fertility trend of respondents who had no prior exposure to messages on family size were not different to those who had exposure to multiple media or one media. But respondents who had exposure to messages on reproduction and child spacing through two media, i.e. radio and television, had lower fertility than those who had no exposure. Education did not necessarily affect the respondents’ exposure to media. (4) The mean scores indicated that the message on tubectomy was understood the most. The second most understood messages were on girl child; reproduction and child spacing and vitamin - A deficiency. The least understood messages were on small family size. (5) The respondents’ attitude score indicated that 61% respondents had positive attitude towards the population education. (6) Number of respondents not found to have exposure to the eight selected messages prior to the study were - vitamin 86%, immunization for six fatal diseases 83%, reproduction and child spacing 81%, vasectomy 75%, girls child 70%, tubectomy 59%, family size 54% and immunization card for the expectant mother and her child 50%. (7) Only the visuals of the massage on girl child were understood by 61% percent of the respondents. Except the education category 8-10 years, in the remaining education categories i.e. no schooling, 2-4, 5-7 and 11-12 years, a majority of the respondents understood only the visuals due to recognition time. (8) The message on tubectomy was partially understood by 43% and completely understood by 35% of the respondents. More respondents in the lower education categories did not understand the message. The reaction time to the message on tubectomy was faster due to the clarity of the stainless i.e. content. Also the respondents’ visual literacy was greater than found in the message on the girl child. (9) Further 45% respondents understood only the visuals of the message on family size. In the lower education categories, a large number of respondents understood only the visuals and in the higher education categories time in giving a response was long due to more recognition time. (10) The message on reproduction and child spacing was partially understood by 67% respondents. More respondents from the higher education categories partially understood the message. The reaction time taken was less. (11) Only the visuals of message of ‘immunization for six fatal diseases’ was understood by 66% respondents. A majority of the respondents in the lower education categories could understand only the visuals. The reaction time increased due to increase in recognition time of the message by the respondents. (12) The message on vasectomy was partially understood by 53% respondents and 16% did not understand the message. More respondents in the ‘no schooling’ category partially understood the message than these in the education category 2-4 years. (13) Only the visuals of the message on vitamin - A and its deficiency were understood by 53% of the respondents. Further, 11% of respondents understood the message completely, but none of the respondents from the lower education categories i.e. ‘no schooling’ and 2-4 years was included. (14) Scores obtained in semantics, comprehension and attitude in relation to the respondents’ socio-economic and cultural conditions showed that an overall picture of the respondents’ understanding of semantics showed that 19% had poor understanding, 56% had average understanding and 25% had good understanding. Further, it was seen that 14% respondents had low comprehension, 65% had an average comprehension and 21% had high comprehension. The attitude results showed that 70% respondents had a positive attitude and 30% had a negative attitude towards the issues mentioned in the messages. (15) The Hindi speaking respondents were most in number to have an average as well as good understanding of the semantics as well as of comprehension in comparison to the Marathi and Gujarati speaking respondents. Most Marathi speaking respondents had a positive attitude and following closely were those who spoke Hindi. (16) According to occupation, most salaried employees had average as well as a good understanding of the semantics as compared to full-time employees and house-wives were the next largest group. (17) Al the Christian respondents had an average understanding of the semantics and an average level of comprehension. The Muslim respondents were more in number among their community to have a good understanding of semantics and a high level of comprehension as compared to the Hindu in their community. All the Christians had a positive attitude while Muslim were second. (18) Influence of decision makers showed that the largest number of respondents to have an average level of comprehension were respondents whose husbands made decisions in the family. Respondents who made decisions jointly with their husbands were most in number to have a good understanding of the semantics and a high level of comprehension. The respondents’ whose in-laws made the decisions in the family, were the most to have a positive attitude towards population education. (19) The longer the years of settlement in Mumbai, the greater was the understanding of the semantic and comprehension. (20) The influence of media exposure showed that more number of respondents who were regular radio listeners’ or read newspaper regularly had a good understanding of semantics, a high level of comprehension and a positive attitude; the respondents who owned television sets were the largest group to have an average as well as a good understanding of semantics, a high level of comprehension and a positive attitude; more number of respondents who went to the cinema sometimes had an average understanding of semantics in comparison to those who went regularly.
Keyword(s): Media, Communicating, Population, Education, demographic studies,