C-CHANGE
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Issue 37 | JANUARY 2012
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Changing Gender Norms, Engaging Men in Reproductive Health and HIV Prevention Programs, and Reducing Gender-Based Violence

Of Interest…

An AIDSTAR-ONE case study highlights the Fatherhood and Child Security project of the Sonke Gender Justice Network in South Africa. It works to increase men's involvement and capacity as fathers and caregivers and encourage them to play an active role in changing traditional norms that harm men, women, and children.

C-Channel 37 presents six articles that deal with gender norms and their impact on health. The first presents research in Tanzania on the role of gender norms in reproductive decision-making and contraceptive use; the second summarizes a decade of research on gender norms and programmatic lessons on engaging men in HIV prevention in Africa, Asia, and Latin America; and the third draws on research in South Africa to argue that HIV prevention should focus on changing current beliefs and cultural ideals associated with gender identities, rather than on individual sexual behaviors. The fourth article examines parallel efforts to promote female empowerment and male engagement in gender equality and suggests how these might come together to reduce HIV and gender-based violence. The fifth summarizes gender-related content in a wide variety of media in several countries; and the sixth addresses international human rights advocacy on gender issues.

In Katanga Province in Democratic Republic of Congo, C-Change designed an intervention to prevent and mitigate school-related, gender-based violence. It promotes positive social and gender norms by engaging male and female students ages 10-14, teachers, school administrators, parents, and community members, including through radio spots, trainings, youth clubs, and parent committees. A presentation at the November APHA meeting outlined the program and its activities. Some of the materials are available for download from C-Hub.

In this issue

1. Gender norms and family planning decision-making in Tanzania
ONLINE FULL TEXT

2. Addressing gender dynamics and engaging men in HIV programs
ONLINE FULL TEXT

3. Perspectives on gender, sexuality, and HIV risk and prevention from South Africa
ONLINE FULL TEXT

4. Tensions and synergies in HIV prevention and antiviolence programs

5. Content analysis of gender roles in various media
ONLINE FULL TEXT

6. Human rights advocacy on gender issues
ONLINE FULL TEXT


1. Gender norms and family planning decision-making in Tanzania: A qualitative study

Authors: Schuler S1; Rottach E1; Mukiri P2
Institutions: 1 FHI 360; 2 Synovate Tanzania, Dar es Salaam
Source: Journal of Public Health in Africa 2011 2(2): 102-107 DOI: 10.4081/jphia.2011.e25.

ABSTRACT

Experience suggests that the incorporation of gender approaches into family planning (FP) and reproductive health (RH) programs may increase their impact and sustainability, but further work is needed to examine the interactions between gender norms and family planning and to incorporate this understanding into behavior change communication (BCC) in specific social contexts. We conducted open-ended, in-depth interviews with 30 young currently married men, 30 young married women and 12 older people who influenced FP decisions. Six focus group interviews were also conducted. The interviews focused on the role of gender norms in reproductive decision-making and contraceptive use among young married men and women in Tanzania. The findings suggest that gender factors, such as men's dominance in decision-making do function as barriers to the use of modern contraceptives, but that fear of side effects, by both men and women, may be even more important deterrents. Results from this research will inform the development of BCC interventions to be tested in a subsequent intervention study in which gender factors and poor information about contraceptive methods will be addressed.

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2. Addressing gender dynamics and engaging men in HIV programs: Lessons learned from Horizons research

Authors: Pulerwitz J1; Michaelis A2,3; Verma R4,5; Weiss E6
Institutions: 1 Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, Washington DC; 2 Population Council, Washington DC; 3 William J. Clinton Foundation, Boston; 4 Population Council, New Delhi; 5 International Center for Research on Women, New Delhi; 6 International Center for Research on Women, Washington DC
Source: Public Health Reports 2010 125(2): 282-292.

ABSTRACT

In the field of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention, there has been increasing interest in the role that gender plays in HIV and violence risk, and in successfully engaging men in the response. This article highlights findings from more than 10 studies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America- conducted from 1997 through 2007 as part of the Horizons program- that have contributed to understanding the relationship between gender and men's behaviors, developing useful measurement tools for gender norms, and designing and evaluating the impact of gender-focused program strategies. Studies showed significant associations between support for inequitable norms and risk, such as more partner violence and less condom use. Programmatic lessons learned ranged from insights into appropriate media messages, to strategies to engage men in critically reflecting upon gender inequality, to the qualities of successful program facilitators. The portfolio of work reveals the potential and importance of directly addressing gender dynamics in HIV- and violence-prevention programs for both men and women

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3. Gender and sexuality: Emerging perspectives from the heterosexual epidemic in South Africa and implications for HIV risk and prevention

Authors: Jewkes R1; Morrell R2
Institution: 1 Gender & Health Research Unit, Medical Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa; 2 Research Office, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Source: Journal of the International AIDS Society 2010, 13(6).

ABSTRACT

Research shows that gender power inequity in relationships and intimate partner violence places women at enhanced risk of HIV infection. Men who have been violent towards their partners are more likely to have HIV. Men's behaviours show a clustering of violent and risky sexual practices, suggesting important connections. This paper draws on Raewyn Connell' s notion of hegemonic masculinity and reflections on emphasized femininities to argue that these sexual, and male violent, practices are rooted in and flow from cultural ideals of gender identities. The latter enables us to understand why men and women behave as they do, and the emotional and material context within which sexual behaviours are enacted. In South Africa, while gender identities show diversity, the dominant ideal of black African manhood emphasizes toughness, strength and expression of prodigious sexual success. It is a masculinity women desire; yet it is sexually risky and a barrier to men engaging with HIV treatment. Hegemonically masculine men are expected to be in control of women, and violence may be used to establish this control. Instead of resisting this, the dominant ideal of femininity embraces compliance and tolerance of violent and hurtful behaviour, including infidelity. The women partners of hegemonically masculine men are at risk of HIV because they lack control of the circumstances of sex during particularly risky encounters. They often present their acquiescence to their partners' behavior as a trade off made to secure social or material rewards, for this ideal of femininity is upheld, not by violence per se, by a cultural system of sanctions and rewards. Thus, men and women who adopt these gender identities are following ideals with deep roots in social and cultural processes, and thus, they are models of behaviour that may be hard for individuals to critique and in which to exercise choice. Women who are materially and emotionally vulnerable are least able to risk experiencing sanctions or foregoing these rewards and thus are most vulnerable to their men folk. We argue that the goals of HIV prevention and optimizing of care can best be achieved through change in gender identities, rather than through a focus on individual sexual behaviours.

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4. Uncovering tensions and capitalizing on synergies in HIV/AIDS and antiviolence programs

Authors: Dworkin S1; Dunbar M2; Krishnan S3; Hatcher A4; Sawires S5
Institutions:1 Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco; 2 Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, San Francisco; 3 RTI International, San Francisco, and University of California, Berkeley; 4 Bixby Center for Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco; 5 Program in Global Health, Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services, and UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles
Source: American Journal of Public Health 2011, 101(6): 995-1003 doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.191106.

ABSTRACT

Research frequently points to the need to empower women to effectively combat the twin epidemics of HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence. Simultaneously, there has been increased attention given to working with men in gender equality efforts. The latter approach intervenes on masculinities as part of the fight against HIV/AIDS and violence. No research has considered these 2 lines of work side by side to address several important questions: What are the points of overlap, and the tensions and contradictions between these 2 approaches? What are the limitations and unintended consequences of each? We analyzed these 2 parallel research trends and made suggestions for how to capitalize on the synergies that come from bolstering each position with the strengths of the other.

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5. Contributions to the content analysis of gender roles: An introduction to a special issue

Authors: Rudy R; Popova L; Linz D
Institutions: Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara
Source: Sex Roles 2011, 64:151-59.

ABSTRACT

This special issue on gender-related content analysis is the second of two parts (see Rudy et al. 2010b). The current special issue is more diverse than was the first in the number of countries that are represented and in the variety of media genres and content types that are included. The primary aim of this paper is to outline some of the contributions of the individual papers in this second special issue. Some of these advancements and innovations include (a) examining underresearched measures, countries, time spans, sexual orientations, and individual media programs; (b) addressing both international and intranational differences in gender-role portrayals; (c) comparing multiple content formats within the same media unit; (d) updating past findings to take into consideration the current media landscape; (e) employing established measures in novel ways and novel contexts; (f) uncovering limitations in established intercultural measures and media-effects theories; (g) suggesting variables that could predict additional differences in gender-role portrayals; (h) adopting virtually identical methods and measures across distinct content categories in order to facilitate comparisons; (i) conducting multiple tests of a given hypothesis; (j) examining, from multiple perspectives, the implications of racial differences in gender portrayals; and (k) examining the implications of underrepresentation of women and the perspectives that women hold. In addition to the original content-analytical research presented in this special issue, two reviews, one methodological and the other analytical, offer recommendations of procedures and perspectives to be implemented in future research.

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6. Human rights advocacy on gender issues: Challenges and opportunities

Authors: Farrior, S
Institutions: Vermont Law School
Source: Journal of Human Rights Practice 2009, 1(1):83-100.

ABSTRACT

Recent years have seen notable progress on issues of gender and human rights in standard-setting and to some extent application of those standards through international and domestic legislation and jurisprudence, and in institutional programming and development. Some international and regional human rights bodies now go beyond just including 'women' in a list of 'vulnerable' groups, and have begun to incorporate women's experiences and perspectives into recommendations for structural changes needed to bring about full enjoyment of human rights by women and girls. In addition, recent years have seen the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people being taken up beyond the first human rights bodies that addressed them, and developments have taken place in standard-setting. Despite this progress, many challenges remain. Violence against women continues at a staggering rate. Gender-based discrimination persists in the workplace, housing, education, disaster relief, health care, and countless other areas. Access to justice continues to be hindered by a range of obstacles. Religion, tradition, and culture continue to be used as a shield for violating women's rights. Same-sex conduct is still criminalized in scores of countries, and it carries the death penalty in seven states. The traditional human rights law paradigm, with its focus on the state, may be obsolete in dealing with human rights abuses by such diverse non-state actors as powerful militias and global corporations. This article highlights just a few opportunities and challenges to come for international human rights advocacy on gender issues.

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This publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Agreement No. GPO-A-00-07-00004-00. The contents are the responsibility of C-Change, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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