Reports We Read (and Write)

Rigid, narrow codes of tradition masculinity and femininity drive lower reproductive health, homophobic and gender-based violence, and poorer education outcomes. This is especially true in under-resourced communities, where gender codes are apt to be particularly narrow or harsh.
That's why there there has been an increased focus and commitment on information on "gender transformative” interventions and policies, which question, challenge and change rigid gender norms and inequities. Major international donors like PEPFAR, UNAIDS, USAID, UNFPA and WHO–as well as prominent NGOs like EngenderHealth, Population Council and International Planned Parenthood–have already developed intellectual collateral on gender transformative approaches.
This is our round-up on some of the best reports–including our own–on the challenge, implications, and improved outcomes that result from implementing programs and policies with a strong gender focus.
Table of Contents
Gender Norms: A Key to Improving Health & Wellness Among Black Women & Girls (2013)
On Norms and Agency: Conversations about Gender Equality (2012)
Engaging Men to Prevent Gender-Based Violence (2012)
Funding for Inclusion: Women and Girls in the Equation (2012)
Gender Norms: A Key to Improving Life Outcomes in At-Risk Populations (2012)
Men Are Changing (2011)
What Men Have To Do With It (2010)
Synchronizing Gender Trainings for Males and Females (2010)
Questioning Gender Norms with Men to Improve Health Outcomes (2010)
A Manual for Integrating Gender Into Reproductive Health and HIV Programs (2009)
Exploring Dimensions of Masculinity and Violence (2007)
Why We Can't Wait: Opportunities for Improving Life Outcomes (2007)
Involving Men in Reproductive Health: Contributions to Development (2006)
Supporting Boys' Resilience: A Dialog (2004)
A Summary of the 'So What?' Report: Does Gender Transformative Really Work? (2004)
Integrating Gender into HIV/AIDS Programmes: A Review Paper (2003)
Gender Analysis in Health: A review of selected tools (2002)
Gender, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS: The What, the Why and the How (2000)
Gender and HIV/ AIDS: Taking stock on research and programs (1999)
Understanding the Boy Code (1999)
Gender Integration Continuum
Gender Norms: A Key to Improving Health & Wellness Among Black Girls (2013)
Black adolescent girls and young women face barriers related to both race and gender, which have immense effects of their health, achievement and life outcomes. This is especially the case for low-income Black girls, who have added challenges associated with poverty. This report, produced by TrueChild with support from The Heinz Endowments, illustrates the small but growing body of empirical research devoted to Black girls and gender norms and focuses on three problem areas where that research base is both broad and well-accepted: basic health and wellness, reproductive and sexual health, and intimate relationships and partner violence.

On Norms and Agency: Conversations about Gender Equality (2012)
Rigid gender norms, of masculinity and femininity, should be focused on as the underlying cause of gender inequities between men and women. This report by the World Bank, an examination of gender inequality in 20 countries and 97 communities around the world, argues that women’s and men’s opportunities and actions are just as powerfully influenced by gender roles and beliefs as they are by socio-economic conditions. Everyday practices include not only behaviors that reinforce gender roles but also a great deal of resistance to gender norms as well. The World Bank makes the case that in order to address gender disparities and give women more agency in their lives, we must address cultural gender norms around the world.

Engaging Men to Prevent Gender-Based Violence (2012)
Engaging Men to Prevent Gender-Based Violence, a new report from Instituto Promundo, summarizes the impact of projects in four different countries that engaged men and cultural codes of manhood in combating partner violence. Engaging men through communities, sports, health, and work, the programs were all effective in changing attitudes about violence against women. This report highlights the wide range of potential avenues for engaging men in violence prevention.

Funding for Inclusion: Women and Girls in the Equation (2012)
Foundations often address issues that are typically considered "gender issues” without actually talking about gender. Others don’t realize that really embracing gender equity means considering the differing needs of men and women, girls and boys. This report explains the importance of specifically addressing gender in efforts to empower women and girls. While his report does not focus on gender transformative practices and gender norms, it does provide guidelines for how to integrate a solid gender analysis throughout the grant-making process.

Gender Norms: A Key to Improving Life Outcomes in At-Risk Populations (2012)
Published by the National Council on Gender, this accessible overview shows how rigid norms of femininity and masculinity can depress women’s and men’s health and well-being, particularly in areas like reproductive health, partner abuse, and homophobic violence. Intimate partner violence, reproductive health, mental health, homophobic violence, and help-seeking behavior are all linked to gender norms. There is a disconnect between gender norms research and the practices of foundations and programs in the U.S. which needs to be resolved. It is time for increased attention to gender norms in funding, policy and practice.

Men Are Changing (2011)
Men are Changing, a report by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, analyzes 12 gender transformative programs from around that world that address codes of masculinity as they relate to sexuality, sexual and reproductive health, violence and relationships. This report is part of a growing body of research which illustrates that working with men and boys is effective.

What Men Have To Do With It (2010)
What men have to do with it
A result of the Men and Gender Equality Policy Project of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), this report found that Interventions that were gender transformative and questioned traditional masculine norms were most likely to be effective in changing behaviors and attitudes.

Synchronizing Gender Strategies (2010)
synchronizing gender
This new publication examines a new approach to gender integration known as "gender synchronization." It makes the case that gender inequities and norms that harm health can be best addressed by working with men and women in a coordinated or synchronized way. The report defines some of the characteristics of gender synchronization, gives examples of existing gender-synchronized programs, and some emerging programs to watch for."Excerpted from All rights reserved.

Questioning Gender Norms with Men to Improve Health Outcomes (2010)
synchronizing gender
This article, produced by a team of scholars from the International Center for Research on Women, Instituto Promundo, the World Health Organization, and the New York University’s Department of Applied Psychology, is a collective review of 58 studies that evaluated programs engaging men and boys in gender equity work. The evidence from the 58 studies shows that well-designed programs can improve men’s and boys’ attitudes about sexual health, fatherhood, and violence against women. Overall, programs that incorporate a gender transformative approach to work with men and boys are more effective at producing change than other programs.

A Manual for Integrating Gender Into Reproductive Health & HIV Programs (2009)
manual for integrating gender
The Manual promotes greater understanding of how gender relations and identities affect the capacity of individuals and groups to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health, and to negotiate and obtain better reproductive health outcomes. Users of the Manual will learn how to undertake a gender analysis that can help programs and policies be more responsive to the social, economic, cultural, and political realities that constrain or enhance reproductive health. Excerpted from the report. All rights reserved.

Exploring Dimensions of Masculinity and Violence (2007)
involving men in reproductive health
Exploring Dimensions of Masculinity and Violence, a report by the International Center for Research on Women, in partnership with CARE Balkans, details the work by CARE Balkans with young men between the ages of 13 and 19 to examine the role masculine gender norms play in the development of gender inequality and inequitable behaviors towards women.

Why We Can't Wait: Opportunities for Improving Life Outcomes (2007)
involving men in reproductive health
Both race and gender impact the lives of young African American men. A true intersectional approach would address both as well as how they interact to produce lower life outcomes. Foundations should support research that covers both race and gender, and policymakers, service providers, and scholars should work more closely on issues of race and gender. While the focus of this report is not specifically on gender, it includes many passages that address the impact of masculine norms on lower life outcomes for Black men and boys.

Involving Men in Reproductive Health: Contributions to Development (2006)
involving men in reproductive health
Involving men has been a prominent part of the shift from family planning to the broader reproductive health agenda. Men constitute an important asset in efforts to improve women’s health. The basic argument of this entire document is that men’s roles in sexual and reproductive health must be recognized, understood and addressed much more extensively than they have to date, and that doing so will have implications well beyond reproductive health for other aspects of development. Excerpted from the report. All rights reserved.

Supporting Boy's Resilience (2004)
Boys resilience
"To improve the lives of women and girls in our society, men’s and boys’ lives must change as well... A focus on boys is crucial. Boys—and the men that they become—are active participants in and gatekeepers of a rigid gender order that structures our lives, informs our public policy, and creates and defeats possibilities for boys and men, and for girls and women. Masculinity, as it is culturally constructed, puts forth a constricted, often destructive, version of boyhood and manhood that limits the full range of emotional and behavioral potential that boys inherently possess."Excerpted from All rights reserved.

A Summary of the 'So What?' Report (2004)
the so what report
"This brief, which is aimed at policymakers and program managers, presents the evidence that integrating gender into reproductive health programs makes a difference to outcomes, both reproductive health outcomes and gender outcomes. It was produced through a collaboration between the IGWG and WHO’s Department of Gender, Women and Health.”Excerpted from All rights reserved.

Integrating Gender into HIV/AIDS Programmes: A Review (2003)
integrating gender
"This review document brings together up-to-date knowledge on how gender norms increase the risk of, and vulnerability to, HIV/AIDS. It also reviews approaches for addressing gender in HIV/AIDS programmes as well as examples of different types of HIV/AIDS programmes."Excerpted from All rights reserved.

Gender Analysis in Health: A review of selected tools(2002)
gender analysis in health
> "This review provides guidance on how to assess whether: policies, programmes or research initiatives take into account differences between women and men in terms of roles and responsibilities, access to resources and decision-making power; and what to do to not exacerbate gender-based inequalities. This critical review examines the content of 17 widely used gender tools and their usefulness for gender analysis in health. The review is an invaluable resource for those working on gender and health."Excerpted from
All rights reserved.

Gender, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS: the What, the Why and the How (2000)
gender sexuality and HIV
"The focus of Geeta Rao Gupta's plenary presentation of 12 July 2000 at the XIII International AIDS Conference is on the what, why, and how of gender, sexuality, and HIV/AIDS. Dr Rao Gupta discusses the factors associated with women's vulnerability to HIV; and the ways in which unequal power balance in gender relations increases not only women's, but also men's, vulnerability to HIV-despite, or rather because of, their greater power. She then addresses the question of how one is to overcome the seemingly insurmountable barriers of gender and sexual inequality. How can we change the cultural norms that create damaging, even fatal, gender disparities and roles? According to Dr Rao Gupta, an important first step is to recognize, understand, and publicly discuss the ways in which the power imbalance in gender and sexuality fuels the epidemic."Excerpted from All rights reserved.

Gender and HIV/AIDS: Taking stock on research and programmes (1999)
gender and HIV/AIDS
"This review examines research on gender as it relates to women's and men's different vulnerabilities to HIV infection, and their different abilities to access resources for care and support in order to cope with the impact of the epidemic. The paper also reviews programmatic responses that have sought to address gender-specific concerns and constraints in an attempt to contain the pandemic and alleviate its impact."Excerpted from All rights reserved.

Understanding The Boy Code (1999)
real boys
"As parents, caregivers, teachers and mentors of boys we all hope and want the best for the next generation of men. However, recent research has shown that boys are not being given the best, and as a result, are falling behind. How are we letting boys down? Unintentionally, we are fostering an idea of boyhood that represses boys’ emotional connections and their ability to be intimate. We have an expectation of appropriate behavior for boys that does not reflect the current needs of our society. To help our sons become whole, we must break the Boy Code."Excerpted from rights reserved.

The Gender Integration Continuum
gender integration continuum 2
The IGWG has developed a conceptual framework which categorizes approaches by how they treat gender norms andinequities in the design, implementation, and evaluation of program/policy.Gender transformative approaches, at the right end of the continuum, actively strive to examine, question, and change rigid gender norms and imbalance of power as a means of reaching health as well as gender equity objectives. Gender transformative approaches encourage critical awareness among men and women of gender roles and norms; promote the position of women; challenge the distribution of resources and allocation of duties between men and women; and/or address the power relationships between women and others in the community, such as service providers and traditional leaders. Excerpted from the report. All rights reserved.



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