Over the past decade, health programs have increasingly engaged men and boys in order to achieve gender equality and improve health outcomes. Gender inequality is a pervasive structural issue that negatively affects women, girls, men, and boys. Narratives of masculinity that justify men’s capacity for violence, control over women, and dominance in the economic and political spheres is influential in many local contexts around the world. Global health literature documents the impact of such social narratives, which act as structural drivers to increase the risk for negative health and social outcomes.
Recognizing the impact of gender on health outcomes, international organizations have advocated integrating a gender perspective into health programs. To recommend evidence-based strategies to accomplish this, the Gender, Policy and Measurement (GPM) program — funded by the Asia bureau of USAID — conducted a systematic review of published and unpublished literature documenting gender-aware programs. GPM wished to identify strategies that health programs had used either to accommodate (that is, work around) or transform areas of gender inequality, and whose influence on key health outcomes had been measured. This review yielded 145 gender-integrated interventions conducted in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) worldwide — 32 of them in India — that had been evaluated for their impact on health outcomes.
This brief analyzes the evaluation findings of 59 interventions that focused on engaging men and boys in initiatives to improve health and gender outcomes and offers recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of gender-integrated programs to improve health outcomes for males, females, and communities.
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CITATION: Public Health Foundation of India, Health Policy Project, MEASURE Evaluation, and International Center for Research on Women. 2014. Evidence-based Strategies to Engage Men and Boys in Gender-integrated Health Interventions. Washington, DC: Futures Group, Health Policy Project.