Research on gender power in contraceptive use has focused on whether women have an active role in household decision-making (the participation model) or on the extent of their control of domestic decisions (the control model); it has also addressed the joint effects of power, age, education and work. Findings published in this journal (Woldemicael, 2009) suggest a third power model according to which wives make joint decisions with their husbands on important domestic areas and autonomous decisions on secondary matters (the egalitarian model). In analyses of Demographic and Health Survey data sets from 46 countries, the egalitarian model explained contraceptive use better than the control and participation models in 19 out of 20 countries outside sub-Saharan Africa; its superiority was less overwhelming in this sub-continent. Power effects on contraceptive use that depend on women's education, age and work for cash are larger in sub-Saharan Africa than in other world regions, whereas independent power effects differ little regionally, suggesting the action of a personality factor. Situational specification of decision importance and direct measurement of women's assertiveness are needed to improve the explanation of contraceptive behaviour. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012.