Gender

  • Put a ring on it: Four reasons to make the dapivirine ring an HIV prevention option for women and girls

    While much progress has been made to end the HIV epidemic, not enough has been done to put the power of prevention directly in women’s hands. The dapivirine ring, a flexible silicone ring inserted monthly into the vagina, can change this. If approved by regulators, the ring would be the first discreet, long-acting HIV prevention tool available specifically for women. The ring would complement daily oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as another biomedical tool in the fight against HIV.

    Recent evidence suggests significant acceptability of and demand for vaginal rings as a drug-delivery platform among women who used the dapivirine ring during clinical trials — and also among policymakers and other stakeholders in countries with a high HIV burden. To better understand these perspectives, the OPTIONS Consortium interviewed policymakers, implementers and civil society leaders in seven sub-Saharan African countries about possibilities for introduction and scale-up of the dapivirine ring. An analysis of the interviews shows widespread enthusiasm for the ring as part of comprehensive HIV prevention programming.

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  • Finding Common Ground: Menstrual Health and Contraception

    Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, basic health needs are largely unchanged, including the need to manage menstruation hygienically, safely and with dignity. As advocates around the world point out, periods don’t stop for pandemics.

    On Menstrual Hygiene Day, and every day, FHI 360 works around the world to ensure equitable access to quality menstrual products and appropriate sanitation facilities. We also engage government officials, teachers and community members to improve school-based education, raise community awareness and help fight period stigma. And, we must not forget an important group of people who menstruate: those who are using – or want to use – contraception.

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  • A dispatch from Women Deliver: How the private sector is ensuring women are included in more inclusive growth

    This post was originally published on the Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist blog. Reprinted with permission.

    Over the course of four days in June, more than 8,000 world leaders, influencers, practitioners, advocates, academics, activists and journalists gathered in Vancouver, Canada, to discuss how to accelerate progress for girls and women around the globe. The Women Deliver conference included important conversations about the future of work and women’s economic participation. Importantly, the debate demonstrated how the dialogue on the role of the private sector is shifting: from corporate responsibility to corporate interest and from social impact to bottom line impact — and increasingly both.

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  • Two perspectives on the life-changing DREAMS partnership

    The Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe women (DREAMS) partnership aspires to reduce HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. These countries alone accounted for more than half of the HIV infections that occurred among adolescent girls and young women globally in 2015.

    DREAMS reaches beyond the health sector to address the direct and indirect factors that increase girls’ HIV risk, such as poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence and inadequate education. Interventions can include paying school fees, providing bicycles to girls who would otherwise walk long distances to school, supplying sanitary napkins for menstrual hygiene management and offering mentoring to help girls avoid early pregnancy, gender-based violence and discrimination. DREAMS is supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences and ViiV Healthcare.

    Two young women who participate in DREAMS projects attended FHI 360’s 2018 Gender 360 Summit and discussed how DREAMS is making a difference in their lives. Here are their stories.

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  • Three ways to help female teachers in conflict and crisis contexts

    In education in conflict and crisis (EiCC) situations, community members often take on new roles to provide essential education and psychosocial support services to children. This is especially true for female teachers, who are expected to provide academic and nurturing care to their students while also caring for their families and coping with their own social, emotional and material needs. This is a tall order, and female teachers do not receive the support they need to be as effective — and engaged — as possible.

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  • Women as leaders in conflict response

    The international community is not giving enough attention to the impact that humanitarian crises have on women and girls or to the role they play in emergency response. We need to. It’s time to examine how women are disproportionately affected by conflict and emergencies and how they fill the roles of first responders, caregivers and peacebuilders.

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  • To achieve equity in education, we need the right data

    A version of this post originally appeared on FHI 360’s R&E Search for Evidence blog.

    As we work to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to education, it is the responsibility of every funding, implementing and research organization internationally to be asking questions about our own contributions to building equity in education. While a great amount of data gets produced in the course of education projects, only a fraction provides the detail that is needed to assess intervention impact on different equity dimensions. At the technical and implementation level, organizations need to capture and use the necessary evidence to understand and respond to inequity in education provision and outcomes.

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  • Why are women less likely to own a phone?

    Much has been written about the gender gap in mobile phone usage, specifically on why women are less likely to have access to this technology than men; why women are less likely to be technically literate than men; and why women are less likely to be aware of the many potential benefits of a mobile phone. We recognize that there is a gender gap, as high as 38 percent in South Asia. Within the development community, there is no disagreement that this digital gender divide needs to be addressed in order to drive women’s economic empowerment and ensure a more equitable future. However, there are varying points of view on how to close this gap.

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  • Gender equality and the SDGs

    Whether it’s ending poverty, protecting the planet or ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, it is clear that women need to be at the center of the development agenda. Simply put, countries only escape poverty and conflict when women and girls are healthy, educated, and economically and politically empowered. It turns out that progress for women brings progress for all.

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  • Same recipe, different geography: Holistic approaches are smart for girls and women everywhere

    A version of this post originally appeared on Locus. Reposted with permission. Locus is a coalition of organizations dedicated to advancing evidence-based solutions to global development challenges that are integrated, driven by local communities and based on shared measures. FHI 360 is a member.

    Here’s a development scenario you’re probably familiar with: Imagine a young girl growing up in a remote rural area, raised in a poor family. Girls here are not typically encouraged in the same way as boys are to imagine themselves having exciting future careers, nor even the more vanilla option of working at the sole local factory. Virtually all the local authority figures are men. Contraception (especially for adolescents) carries a shameful stigma and is difficult to access. The girl’s school is chronically underfunded. Some of her peers get pregnant early, some drop out of school, some marry early. In short, she faces several financial and social barriers to a healthy, stable and productive future. Now be honest: were you picturing a young girl from a poor country in Africa or Asia? If so, you’re wrong.

    That girl was me. Who grew up in America and is now a healthy, educated woman with a successful career. Does now knowing that the girl in the story was American make the happy ending less surprising? Probably so, and that illustrates a fundamental problem with the way we approach empowering women and girls in the developing world. Indeed, clearly the privilege of growing up in America provided me with a deeply significant advantage in overcoming those initial roadblocks to a healthy and happy life. But what about all of the other various ingredients, that when combined together became my recipe for success? Shouldn’t girls and women be supported in the same way, no matter where they live? Let’s break it down.

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