What does sexuality have to do with women’s empowerment? Research from the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment RPC shows that sexuality affects women’s political and economic empowerment in a number of important ways. For example, in the ways that women experience seeking election to political office, how women are treated and respected (or disrespected) in the workplace and in public, and how families and communities place expectations on how women should behave. Being exposed to sexual harassment and sexual violence and not being able to exercise choice in their sexual relationships affects women’s wellbeing and ultimately undermines political, social and economic empowerment. This policy paper demonstrates why sexuality is so important for women’s empowerment, drawing on evidence generated by research carried out by the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment RPC and collaborative initiatives with the DFID-funded IDS Sexuality and Development Programme.
The Sexual Health and HIV Evidence to Policy Project (SHHEP): Exploring the art and science of influencing
The commentary describes the increasing interest from research and communication practitioners, policy makers and funders in expanding the impact of research on policy and practice. It notes the need for contextually embedded understanding of ways to engage multiple stakeholders in the politicized, sensitive and often contested arenas of sexual and reproductive health. The commentary then introduces the papers under their respective themes: (1) The theory and practice of research engagement (two global papers); (2) Applying policy analysis to explore the role of research evidence in SRH and HIV/AIDS policy (two papers with examples from Ghana, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia); (3) Strategies and methodologies for engagement (five papers on Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Swaziland respectively); (4) Advocacy and engagement to influence attitudes on controversial elements of sexual health (two papers, Bangladesh and global); and (5) Institutional approaches to inter-sectoral engagement for action and strengthening research communications (two papers, Ghana and global).
Emerging issues: Condom policy and programming, Condoms: An International Workshop, 21-23 June 2006, Meeting Report
From the 21–23 June 2006, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (the Alliance) and Reproductive Health Matters (RHM) hosted an international meeting in London to bring together a range of experts from academia, civil society, multilateral organisations and government. The purpose of this meeting was to facilitate dialogue between participants from different disciplines and geographical areas to explore successful methods of promoting condom use and barriers to condom promotion.
Gender—the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for males, females and other genders—affects how people live, work and relate to each other at all levels, including in relation to the health system. Health systems research (HSR) aims to inform more strategic, effective and equitable health systems interventions, programs and policies; and the inclusion of gender analysis into HSR is a core part of that endeavour. We outline what gender analysis is and how gender analysis can be incorporated into HSR content, process and outcomes . Starting with HSR content, i.e. the substantive focus of HSR, we recommend exploring whether and how gender power relations affect females and males in health systems through the use of sex disaggregated data, gender frameworks and questions. Sex disaggregation flags female–male differences or similarities that warrant further analysis; and further analysis is guided by gender frameworks and questions to understand how gender power relations are constituted and negotiated in health systems. Critical aspects of understanding gender power relations include examining who has what (access to resources); who does what(the division of labour and everyday practices); how values are defined (social norms) and who decides (rules and decision-making). Secondly, we examine gender in HSR process by reflecting on how the research process itself is imbued with power relations. We focus on data collection and analysis by reviewing who participates as respondents; when data is collected and where; who is present; who collects data and who analyses data. Thirdly, we consider gender and HSR outcomes by considering who is empowered and disempowered as a result of HSR, including the extent to which HSR outcomes progressively transform gender power relations in health systems, or at least do not further exacerbate them.
This assignment was to work with various staff members from the Institute of Development Studies and their partners in exploring the impact of their work on global policy. Along with Hazel Reeves, I facilitated a meeting to draw out lessons from case studies and synthesised these into a report for Sida on strategies for improving policy and practice and reflective learning.
This project included reviewing and rewriting the Centre’s website and co-producing promotional materials. As part of the process we interviewed staff and students about their relationship to the Centre. Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence Realted links and resources: Link Read this promoted thing PDF DOWNLOAD Read this promoted thing PDF DOWNLOAD Link Read […]
A new way to prevent HIV, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), can provide protection where condoms are not used. Integrating it into HIV and sexual health programming for various communities has become a focus of researchers and health and development agencies. However, PrEP raises important challenges in the context of female sex work. To protect sexual and reproductive health and avoid pregnancy, PrEP must be used with condoms but that may be difficult where clients perceive PrEP as an alternative. Frequent HIV testing and medicalisation of HIV prevention in low-income settings presents challenges for those who lack the rights and power needed to make informed health-related decisions. Policymakers and HIV agencies have a short window in which to ensure that PrEP complements existing programming and plan ways to avert potential negative impacts.
20 years of gender mainstreaming in health: lessons and reflections for the neglected tropical diseases community
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect the poorest of the poor. NTD programmes can and should rise to the challenge of playing a part in promoting more gender equitable societies. Gender equity shapes poverty and the experience of disease in multiple ways; yet to date, there has been little attention paid to gender equity in NTD control efforts. Drawing on a synthesis of relevant literature, the tacit knowledge and experience of the authors, and discussions at a meeting on women, girls and NTDs, this analysis paper distills five key lessons from over 20 years of gender mainstreaming in health. The paper links this learning to NTDs and Mass Drug Administration (MDA). Our first lesson is that tailored gender frameworks support gender analysis within research and programming. We present a gender review framework focusing on different MDA strategies. Second, gender interplays with other axes of inequality, such as disability and geographical location; hence, intersectionality is important for inclusive and responsive NTD programmes. Third, gender, power and positionality shape who is chosen as community drug distributors (CDDs). How CDDs interact with communities and how this interface role is valued and practised needs to be better understood. Fourth, we need to unpack the gender and power dynamics at household level to assess how this impacts MDA coverage and interactions with CDDs. Finally, we need to collect and use sex disaggregated data to support the development of more equitable and sustainable NTD programmes.
As the drive for Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has led to a push for greater health service access, the issue of sustaining and embedding quality in the ways in which these services are delivered has gained prominence. Measurement of quality and attribution of its effects in health is challenging at any level. But little is known about how quality is assessed within community health programmes, who are on the frontline of health service delivery in many low- and middle-income settings. The degree to which new initiatives like the Lancet Commission on Quality in Health Systems will include community health programming and the role of close-to-community health providers is currently unclear. Health systems are shaped around well analysed power asymmetries. Relatively less powerful staff who labour at the interface of the community and health sector are rarely canvassed on their opinions of quality nor are their voices prominent in the decision-making processes that effect their daily labour. At the more local level differences in the personal characteristics of community health workers and their supervisors (such as sex, educational level, class, experience of poverty etc.) also act to reinforce power asymmetries. This brief explores how close-tocommunity health providers in Malawi perceive quality as an aspect of their work and highlights some key challenges which may hinder the definition, measurement, and achievement of quality at the community level. It is based on research conducted by REACH Trust.
This brief examines the reform of health systems in post-conflict settings through a gender lens, using the World Health Organization’s health system building blocks as a framework. Research into the importance of reconstructing health systems after a crisis or war is relatively new, therefore literature discussing challenges and best practices related to gender equity is weak and the evidence base limited. Further study is clearly needed into the impact of strengthening the health system on gender equity.