Ireland was the first country in the world to adopt a national men’s health policy (followed by Australia and Brazil). Given the relatively recent emergence of ‘men’s health’ as an important public health issue, the Irish government’s recognition of the need to address it at the strategic policy level was clearly a very far-sighted and significant step and has been widely recognised as such.
The following collection of articles is based on a narrative study conducted with 75 South African men and women to yield more nuanced, diverse and contextualised understandings of men’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in order to provide a basis for addressing the gendered aspects of HIV prevention. The narratives highlight the diversity and fluidity of men and women’s lived experiences while also demonstrating the range of social and cultural norms that structure sexuality and SRH.
Until now, we’ve been far too comfortable with men occupying a lethargic role in the sexual and reproductive rights movement: that of passive allies. And while it’s imperative that communities and individuals most marginalized by reproductive oppression lead the way in building a new future, it’s also critical that we situate an analysis of masculinity in the reproductive justice framework, and equally important that men are enlisted to participate in that analysis.
This review assesses the effectiveness of programme interventions seeking to engage men and boys in achieving gender equality and equity in health. Research with men and boys has shown how inequitable gender norms - social expectations of what men and boys should and should not do - influence how men interact with their partners, families and children on a wide range of issues. These include preventing the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive use, physical violence, household tasks, parenting and their health-seeking behaviour.
In South Africa, men are increasingly rejecting widespread stereotypes of manhood by stepping forward to challenge gender roles that compromise their well-being and the health of their partners and their families. This case study documents the Sonke Gender Justice Network’s Fatherhood project, which was designed to reduce HIV transmission and address related problems, such as gender-based violence, women’s overwhelming burden of care, and the preponderance of children in need of care and support.
See http://www.icrw.org/publications/allowing-men-care for the report regarding this work.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV programmes are likely to have greater impact on communities if they address constructively the actual and potential role of men in society. At present, however, many such programmes often fail to target men, to address their specific needs and understand the wider influence of male and female gender norms.
This package, developed jointly by The ACQUIRE Project and Promundo, a Brazilian nongovernmental organization, can be used by individuals, organizations, and donors to carry out needs assessments to identify gaps in male engagement programming related to HIV and AIDS prevention, care, treatment, and support.
Designed for trainers of health workers, this manual offers skills-building sessions on developing more “male-friendly” health services. Utilizing participatory and experiential activities, the manual examines attitudinal and structural barriers that inhibit men from seeking HIV and AIDS services (both from the client and the provider perspectives), as well as strategies for overcoming such barriers. The manual is designed for all workers in a health care system: frontline staff, clinicians, and administrative, operational, and outreach workers.