Several decades of research has found that rigid, narrow codes of masculinity and femininity drive poorer reproductive and educational outcomes, homophobia and bullying, and gender-based or intimate partner violence. This can be especially true in at-risk communities, like those of color or LGBTQ.
To improve outcomes, there has been an increased focus on and commitment to designing "gender transformative” interventions which question, challenge and change rigid gender norms and inequities.
International agencies– like CARE, PEPFAR, UNAIDS, USAID, the World Bank, and WHO – have already launched gender transformative initiatives and found them effective.
While a few domestic organizations–like EngenderHealth, International Planned Parenthood and Population Council–have done likewise, by and large as leading authority Hortensia Amaro first observed in 1995 the US still pursues improved life outcomes for young people "in a gender vacuum.”
This needs to change.
TrueChild's goal is simple: Programs and policies that address reproductive health, partner violence and gender-based bullying, and educational achievement integrate a strong, specific focus on gender norms.
Because challenging and ultimately changing harmful codes of masculinity and femininity is a key to improving life outcomes, especially among at-risk adolescents and teens.
Her writing and research on gender have been published in periodicals like The Village Voice, GLQ, Research on Adolescence, and Social Text as well as anthologies like Contemporary Debates in the Sociology of Education, Gender Violence, Feminist Frontiers, Language Awareness, Negotiating Ethical Challenges in Youth Research, Out at Work, Women on Women III, and The Encyclopedia of Identity.
Riki has conducted trainings for such institutions as the White House, CDC, Office on Women’s Health, and Office on Adolescent Health and philanthropic networks like Philanthropy NY, Jewish Women’s Fund Network, Women Donors Network, Women’s Funding Network, and Women Moving Millions.
She is currently working on a book on gender transformative philanthropy. Riki's work has been profiled in The New York Times; TIME Magazine selected her one of "100 Civic Innovators for the 21st Century."