Subtitle: 
Why Using a Gendered Lens Matters
Publication Date
Publication Date: 

2017-01-01

"[The guide] emphasizes the importance of using a gender lens when planning and programming men’s engagement in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including family planning - which means engaging men as clients of SRH services, as supportive partners (to their intimate partners), and as agents of change in terms of SRHR."

This guide from Engender Health and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is intended for "anyone who may be engaged in developing or managing a project or programme to engage men in sexual and reproductive health and rights."  It is "based on the premise that gender norms and how men and women express them can affect their SRH behaviour" and that "the gender attitudes and beliefs held by programme staff and health-care providers (doctors, nurses, etc.) can have an impact on how they design programmes and how they provide services. Assessing, reflecting on and/or challenging gender norms should therefore be a fundamental part of any intervention which seeks to improve SRH, including the involvement of men."

The contents provide basic programming guidance on how to involve men as users and as supportive partners in SRHR and practical tools for engagement. "Action Steps for Engaging Men as Partners in Sexual and Reproductive Health" include the following: 

A) Understanding gender and gender programming: a precursor to engaging men in SRHR, an activity under this heading is "Act Like a Man, Act Like a Woman" which uses a series of questions to increase awareness of differences in rules of behaviour for men and women and understand how gender roles affect the lives of men and women. (Further resources are provided after the discussion of gender expression, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Key gender programming concepts are discussed as well.

B) Building Support for Male Engagement in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights includes how to build commitment and relationships which support programming to involve men in SRHR effectively, which begins with basic principles of involving men in SRHR as clients with rights to services and as part of the solution and work to increase their sense of ownership of new initiatives. Eleven principles are outlined as a sample of what might be developed. Stakeholder and partnership building activities are included, including those for determining institutional commitment. Resources are included.

C) Assessing the Needs for Male Engagement in SRHR Programmes includes assessment tools for formative research and for monitoring and evaluations. This process includes data gathering, and key informant interviewing, as well as further resources.

D) Creating Objectives and Designing the Programme includes "programme design steps include: 1) defining what we mean by constructively engaging men in SRHR and what that programming might look like; 2) conducting a gender analysis of possible programme strategies; 3) developing a logic model (including the creation of SMART objectives); and 4) selecting programme activities and approaches." Considerations include male-female poower dynamics, differing family size preferences, the balance of couples counseling and indiviual choice, male health-seeking behaviour, receptiveness of SRHR services, dealing with violence and coercion, and heteronormativity. "Lesson learned" summarises  gendered lessons on programme design. A  gender analysis built around two key questions is suggested for analysing the design:

"How will the different roles and statuses of women and men within the community, political sphere, workplace and household (for example, roles in decision-making and differential access to and control over resources and services) affect the work to be undertaken?

How will the anticipated results of the work affect women and men differently?" Framework development, activities selection in a continuum, tools and resources follow.

E) Building Staff and Organizational Capacity includes a discussoin of selectin and trining of staff through capacity building - tools and resources provided.

F) Monitoring and Evaluating the Programme links to various tools including, for example,  the the C-Change Gender Scales for developing quantitative survey questions. The guide recommends use of various scales for pre- and post-test questionnaires on attitudes and on behaviour change.

Conclusion: The conclusion suggests that, though the guide is an introduction to issues and practices with resources linked to enhance the reader's work in engaging men and boys, "in the end, actual training with a skilled facilitator may still be the best way to ensure that staff and providers have the opportunity to fully reflect and develop the skills needed to effectively engage men in SRHR in a gender-equitable manner."