Mireille Le Guen


Research fellow at Ined


Title of the post-doctoral projet: Changes in contraceptive uses in time of “pill scare”: a comparison between Belgium, France and Switzerland

Referees: Elise de La Rochebrochard (Ined) and Bruno Schoumaker (UCLouvain)

At the end of 2012, a controversy on oral contraceptives’ side-effects on women’s health, called “pill scare”, broke out in the French media and was relayed in the French-speaking media of Belgium and Switzerland. As a result, pill use dropped in France and in Belgium while only a slight decrease was observed in Switzerland. Although in France studies showed a reshaping in social inequalities in access to contraceptives available under prescription following the pill scare, no research has been conducted in Belgium and Switzerland even though access to contraceptive methods differs among these three countries. Moreover, though pill scares regularly occur worldwide since the introduction of the pill in the US in the 1960s, no cross-national comparisons of pill scares’ consequences on contraceptive use exist.
This project focuses on the making of social inequalities in the context of health crisis. In other words, the aim of this research is to understand how recent pill scares in Belgium, France and Switzerland have affected both men and women’s contraceptive practices according to their social background.
First, I will aim to identify how, and to what extent, the media have tackled pill scares and how these controversies spread within the populations. To do so, I will undertake a press review of seven daily newspapers (2 for Belgium, 1 for France and 3 for Switzerland) in order to identify possible variations in the media coverage of the risks associated with the use of the pill in different linguistic and national areas. I will also analyze Internet search trends using Google Trends® in order to estimate the extent to which the media controversies have had a different echo among the population of the three countries. Then, relying on this first work and by using 10 cross-sectional surveys conducted in the three countries, I will compare the changes of contraceptive use in Belgium, France, and Switzerland according to people’s social background. In particular, I will focus on how the changes in contraceptive practices during the pill scares can be defined as a way of “doing gender” or “undoing gender” in various ways according to people’s social backgrounds. My results will allow me to question the particularities of gender structures in the three countries.

Tesis (defended on November 2018, 23th)

Gender, living conditions and conjugal life around two biographical turning points : Migration and HIV diagnosis among sub-Saharan immigrants living in Île-de-France

Directors: Annabel Desgrées du Loû (IRD-Ceped, France) and Elise Marsicano (University of Strasbourg, France)


International migration and HIV diagnosis are two biographical turning points that can affect the conjugal trajectory of individuals. By adopting a materialist approach and by conceptualizing conjugal life as “economical and sexual exchanges”, we propose to study the effect of living conditions on conjugal changes around these two events. This research is based on data from the ANRS-Parcours biographical survey conducted in 2012-2013 among sub-Saharan immigrants aged 18 to 59 living in the Paris area. Our results show that conjugal trajectories were more affected by migration than by HIV diagnosis. In addition, the conjugal changes following these two events are impacted differently according to the individuals’ living conditions. While men with stable administrative, occupational and residential situations are likely to get a partner, women who have acquired a resident card or French nationality are in a better position to delay entering a relationship after HIV diagnosis. While migration seems to increase women’s need to be in a relationship in order to share a partner’s material stability, they are less likely to be in a relationship after HIV diagnosis, most probably because the stigma associated with HIV infection impacts them more than men.

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Le Guen Mireille, Caron Louise, Nie Wanli, Schoumaker Bruno, 2021, « Occurrences et récurrences des situations d’irrégularité au sein des trajectoires individuelles des Américains, Congolais et Indiens en Belgique », in Merla Laura, Sarolea Sylvie, Schoumaker Bruno (dir.), Composer avec les normes. Trajectoires de vie et agentivité des migrants face au cadre légal, Academia-L’Harmattan, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique, Cahiers Migrations, p. 169‑195.

Schoumaker Bruno, Le Guen Mireille, Caron Louise, Nie Wanli, 2021, « Typologies de trajectoires administratives des migrants congolais, indiens et américains en Belgique : une exploitation des données de registre », in Merla Laura, Sarolea Sylvie, Schoumaker Bruno (dir.), Composer avec les normes. Trajectoires de vie et agentivité des migrants face au cadre légal, Academia-L’Harmattan, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique, Cahiers Migrations, p. 113‑150.

Le Guen Mireille, Rouzaud-Cornabas Mylène, Ventola Cécile, 2021, « Les hommes face à la contraception : entre norme contraceptive genrée et processus de distinction », Cahiers du Genre, 70(1), p. 157‑184.

Le Guen Mireille, Schantz Clémence, Régnier-Loilier Arnaud, de La Rochebrochard Elise, 2021, « Reasons for rejecting hormonal contraception in Western countries: A systematic review », Social Science & Medicine, 284, p. 114247.

Le Guen Mireille, 2021, « Évolution des usages contraceptifs – Une pratique millénaire et deux révolutions », médecine/sciences, 37(6‑7), p. 641‑646.

Le Guen Mireille, Agius Roxane, Panjo Henri, Moreau Caroline, 2020, « La “crise des pilules” en France : les femmes ont-elles davantage consulté un·e gynécologue afin d’accéder plus facilement au DIU ? », Revue d’Épidémiologie et de Santé Publique, 68(6), p. 347‑355.

Le Guen Mireille, Rouzaud-Cornabas Mylène, Panjo Henri, Rigal Laurent, Ringa Virginie, Moreau Caroline, for the Health Barometer group 2016, 2020, « The French pill scare and the reshaping of social inequalities in access to medical contraceptives », SSM – Population Health, 11, p. 100606.

Le Guen Mireille, Schantz Clémence, Pannetier Julie, Etesse Manuel, 2019, « Le genre et ses indices : les normes internationales sur l’égalité femmes-hommes en question », in Gérard Etienne, Henaff Nolwenn (dir.), Inégalités en perspective, Archives contemporaines, Paris, France, p. 35-47.

Le Guen Mireille, Marsicano Élise, Bajos Nathalie, Desgrées du Loû Annabel, for the Parcours study group, 2019, « Union break-up after HIV diagnosis among sub-Saharan African migrants in France: disclosing HIV status is linked with staying in union », AIDS Care, 31(6), p. 699‑706.

Le Guen Mireille, Marsicano Élise, Bajos Nathalie, 2018, « Des ressources pour une union, une union contre des ressources : mise en couple et conditions de vie chez les immigré·e·s d’Afrique subsaharienne après leur arrivée en France », Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales, Vol. 34(4), p. 195‑221.

Le Guen Mireille, 2018, Genre, conditions de vie et conjugalité autour de deux ruptures biographiques : migration et diagnostic d’infection au VIH chez les immigré·e·s d’Afrique subsaharienne vivant en Île-de-France, Thèse de doctorat en Santé publique, option sociologie, Université Paris-Saclay, 360 p.

Le Guen Mireille, Roux Alexandra, Rouzaud-Cornabas Mylène, Fonquerne Leslie, Thomé Cécile, Ventola Cécile, the Junior Lab Contraception&Genre, 2017, “Fifty years of legal contraception in France: diffusion, medicalization, feminization”, Population et Societies, 549, pp. 1–4.

Rahib Delphine, Le Guen Mireille, Lydié Nathalie, 2017, « Contraception. Quatre ans après la crise de la pilule les évolutions se poursuivent », Baromètre Santé 2016, p. 1‑8.

Le Guen Mireille, Desgrées du Loû Annabel, Bajos Nathalie, Marsicano Elise, 2017, « Migrations et évolutions des situations conjugales : entre diversification des partenaires et persistance des asymétries de genre », in Desgrées du Loû Annabel, Lert France (dir.), Parcours : parcours de vie et santé des Africains immigrés en France, Paris, La Découverte, p. 92‑112.

Desgrées du Loû Annabel, Pannetier Julie, Ravalihasy Andrainolo, Le Guen Mireille, Gosselin Anne, Panjo Henri, Bajos Nathalie, Lydie Nathalie, Lert France, Dray-Spira Rosemary, PARCOURS Study Group, 2016, « Is hardship during migration a determinant of HIV infection? Results from the ANRS PARCOURS study of sub-Saharan African migrants in France », AIDS (London, England), 30(4), p. 645‑656.

Le Guen Mireille, Ventola Cécile, Bohet Aline, Moreau Caroline, Bajos Nathalie, 2015, « Men’s contraceptive practices in France: evidence of male involvement in family planning », Contraception, 92(1), p. 46‑54.

Bajos Nathalie, Le Guen Mireille, Bohet Aline, Panjo Henri, Moreau Caroline, the FECOND group, 2014, « Effectiveness of Family Planning Policies: The Abortion Paradox », PLoS ONE, 9(3), p. e91539.

Moreau Caroline, Bohet Aline, Le Guen Mireille, Régnier Loilier Arnaud, Bajos Nathalie, 2014, « Unplanned or unwanted? A randomized study of national estimates of pregnancy intentions », Fertility and Sterility, 102(6), p. 1663‑1670.

Bajos Nathalie, Bohet Aline, Le Guen Mireille, Moreau Caroline, 2012, « Contraception in France : new context, new practices ? », Population and Societies, 492, p. 1‑4.

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