Gender

  • Promoting male involvement in Uganda

    Since August 2012, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) has partnered with FHI 360 to engage men in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and other family planning services in Uganda. The project, titled, “Promoting Constructive Male Engagement to Increase Use of PMTCT Services,” encouraged clients to seek HIV/AIDS care and treatment services at eight health facilities in the Kabale District of Uganda.

    Studies have shown that male involvement in PMTCT and other family planning activities can reduce the risks of vertical HIV transmission (mother-to-child) and infant mortality by more than 40 percent. Educating male partners about HIV in general and how it is transmitted is essential to successful, long-term approaches to eliminating HIV/AIDS. A 2008 study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and South Africa’s University of KwaZulu Natal found that male involvement in PMTCT was linked to more people taking advantage of HIV testing, antiretroviral treatment, condoms, and support for infant feeding choices. What’s more, some women say they need their partner’s support in order to access HIV prevention, care, and treatment services, including PMTCT.

    To encourage male involvement, team members from EGPAF and FHI 360 consulted with leaders in the Kabale district, including district health officials, civic leaders, religious leaders, politicians, and community groups to discuss matters related to gender and HIV and family planning. The community leaders then nominated well-respected men from their community to serve as champions (called “Emanzi” in the local language) and role models for their peers and lead discussions on gender and health issues in their communities.

    Continue reading

  • Focus on Education: To improve education globally we must end child marriage

    It seems remarkable that 11 October 2013 marks only the second time that the global community has come together to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. Has it really taken us this long to recognise that adolescent girls hold the key to building a healthier, safer, more prosperous world?

    The theme for Day of the Girl 2013 – ‘Innovating for girls’ education’ – highlights this link, and recognises that we are unlikely to address global poverty if we don’t enable girls to complete their education. The case is clear. Girls who complete secondary school earn significantly more as adults. They are more likely to know about and use reproductive health services. And the benefits spill over to the next generation as well: mortality rates of children whose mothers have at least seven years of education are up to 58% lower than those among children whose mothers have no education.

    Despite all we know about the benefits of education for girls, millions of girls miss out. Indeed, only 30 per cent of girls around the world are enrolled in secondary school. That is why on Day of the Girl 2013, we cannot ignore the practices that keep girls out of the classroom.

    Child marriage is a major barrier to progress on girls’ education. When girls marry as children, they usually drop out of school, forced to abandon schoolbooks for household chores. They are denied the opportunity to learn the skills that could help them earn a safe, dependable income as adults and which are necessary to build a sustainable and prosperous future for their communities. Every year approximately 14 million girls a year marry before they turn 18. While not all of them will drop out of school, most do. How can we get all girls in school, when child marriage keeps pulling them out?

    Continue reading

  • Women and girls: Beyond 2015

    We know what we can achieve.

    And we know what needs to be done.

    We know that improving access to family planning can reduce maternal and child mortality. Moreover, as long as women are unable to negotiate the number and spacing of their children, gains will be limited. We know that exclusive breastfeeding provides an infant the best start in life. Yet, evidence shows that a child born to a mother who has had access to quality education, especially secondary education, has a greater chance of surviving to see her fifth birthday than a child whose mother has no education. In countries around the world, we have reduced dramatically the incidence of HIV. Yet, gender violence and sexual exploitation will need to be addressed as part of the solution if we are to halt the spread of the disease.

    Last week, the United Nations General Assembly debated the post-2015 agenda, and it has never been more clear that women and girls must be top of mind in the global development discussion. Only when we transform unequal gender norms will we be able to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. This means taking a broader approach than what we have done in the past by integrating gender concerns and putting women and girls front and center in every post-2015 priority.

    Continue reading

  • Efforts to prevent HIV must focus on gender equity

    The latest figures on HIV infections, as reported this week by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), revealed an impressive 33 percent reduction in new infections among adults and children since 2001. To continue down the road to success, future efforts must address the gender inequities that contribute to the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls.

    More than half of the 35 million people living with HIV are women. In sub-Saharan Africa, almost 60 percent of people living with HIV are women. Young women between ages 15 to 24 are at highest risk of and most vulnerable to HIV infection. Closer to home, black women in the United States remain at high risk for HIV infection, and HIV-related illness is now one of the leading causes of death among black women between ages 25 to 34.

    Gender inequity is a key driver of the epidemic, making women more vulnerable to HIV in many ways.

    Continue reading

  • Gender integration: Making it a reality

    Why has there been so much emphasis on gender integration? What does gender integration really mean, and how is it done?

    Equal gender norms, roles and relations are key determinants of well-being across every aspect of human development. Gender inequality limits access to information, education, decision-making power, economic assets and health care. Women and girls are put at a great disadvantage because of unequal gender norms.

    Research, especially in the health and education fields, shows that when efforts are made to address gender inequalities, individuals, communities and societies benefit.

    At FHI 360, we use a Gender Integration Framework to provide practical guidance on how to analyze issues from a gender perspective and devise research and programs that identify and challenge gender-based inequalities that pose barriers to development.

    FHI 360 conducts trainings at our U.S., regional and country offices to give our staff and leadership the capacity to put the framework into practice. Gender specialists throughout the organization help ensure that our research or programs integrate gender considerations at all stages of the project cycle — from planning and design to implementation and measurement.

    This week in Tanzania, 28 technical staff from 17 FHI 360 country offices in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East will participate in our three-day gender integration workshop. The workshop will train these technical experts on how to use the framework and other tools and approaches in their day-to-day work. Participants will become Gender Focal Points, ensuring that gender remains front and center in our country and project offices.

    Continue reading

  • ROADS II: Transforming corridors of risk into pathways of prevention and hope

  • The theme of International Women’s Day 2013 is The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum. How have we made progress on gender equality?

    We have made a lot of progress since Hillary Clinton has been in the leadership position of Secretary of State. Clinton pushed to have the development, diplomatic and even the defense communities pay attention to gender in the U.S. foreign policy arena. In addition, last year the U.S. gender policy was updated for the first time in thirty years. That was a big step forward. Gender is not only about women and girls. Gender is about the relationships between men and women, as well as the social dynamics and the norms that frequently lead to women and girls being at a disadvantage in many societies.

    How does FHI 360 integrate a gender perspective into its work?

    We developed a Gender Integration Framework, which is a set of guidelines that encourages FHI 360 staff working on programs and research to take gender issues into consideration from the start of a project through implementation. We formed a gender advisory council, which includes representatives from all of our major business units. We are also looking strategically at how we can include gender issues in proposals, provide technical assistance to our projects and more effectively talk about gender to our external audiences. I would say there is a lot of momentum and commitment to implementing our Gender Integration Framework.

    Continue reading

  • Integrating gender into health projects – New collection of tools available

    Are you a gender focal person in your organization looking to access programmatic evidence, tools for gender and health advocacy? Perhaps you are a program manager seeking to view guidance on integrating gender in HIV/AIDS, family planning, maternal health and youth programs or access gender training curricula and materials. Maybe you are a donor who wants to learn about key issues in gender mainstreaming and gender integration. Well, there is a new one-stop shop for you! The newly revised Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG) Gender and Health Toolkit is now available.

    The Knowledge for Health (K4Health) project recently updated this electronic toolkit with input from leading gender experts. The result is a collection of carefully selected practical tools and instruments to help make programs and health systems more equitable and effective. Designed to move health practitioners, program mangers and policy makers from awareness and commitment to direct application and practice, the toolkit is a treasure trove of applied resources. This new IGWG Gender and Health Toolkit is a companion to the IGWG website and has the same goal: improvement of reproductive health/HIV/AIDS outcomes and sustainable development through the promotion of gender equity within population, health, and nutrition programs.

  • International Day of the Girl

    Today, October 11, 2012, marks the first UN International Day of the Girl.  This day has been set aside to recognize girls’ rights and the challenges they face. The theme for this year is ending child marriage.  On the UN International Day of the Girl, we are launching a series highlighting our work with girls around the world.  We invite you to participate in the conversation on twitter with #IDG and #DayoftheGirl.