Webinar report – Practical Pathways for Change: Learning how to integrate a gender and equity lens in AMR research projects

In this blog Hayley Stewart reports back on the recent Practical Pathways for Change webinar, introducing a new resource aiming to incorporate gender and equity considerations into Antimicrobial Resistance innovation, intervention, and implementation research.

Gender, among other social, cultural, and biological factors, can have an impact on susceptibility to antimicrobial resistance and adversely impact the effectiveness of mitigation strategies within a community. Earlier this month the International Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Solutions (ICARS), in collaboration with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), and Jive Media Africa, released a new resource aiming to incorporate gender and equity considerations into AMR innovation, intervention, and implementation research. Here we tell you about what we learned at their recent webinar to introduce the tool.

Erica Westwood from ICARS opened the webinar talking about the importance of considering gender in the context of an emergency like AMR, taking lessons on the necessity of applying a gender lens in crises like COVID-19 and climate change. She outlined how ignoring social and contextual factors risked deepening inequalities. However, gender analysis still remains a weak point in AMR research, with a distinct lack of sex disaggregated data. She then went on to explain how women can be key to understanding AMR, particularly as in rural areas they frequently will be the ones tending to sick animals, collecting water, preparing food, and caring for the sick and the elderly. In this collaborative project, the partners worked together to create a tool that helps us find and create sustainable solutions to AMR that are gender sensitive. And these solutions need to be contextually relevant, locally driven, and enhance equity.

Bhensri Naemiratch from MORU talked though the development of the tool, beginning with a systematic scoping review, looking at journal articles from 2017 to 2022 that discussed gender and equity consideration in AMR, focussing on human and animal health in LIMCs. The team engaged with 17 researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia, undertaking a participatory process through online consultation workshops. They then went through a co-creation process with seven researchers to develop the toolkit.

Dr Ingrid Lynch from HSRC in South Africa then took participants through some of the key features of the tool:

Part one provides an overview of key concepts and the relevance of gender, equity and intersectional analysis in AMR. It synthesises research that does exist around the linkages between gender and AMR.

Part two is structured around the research cycle to illustrate how a gender and equity lens can be integrated into research. This is illustrated through the toolkit by two case studies. This section helps with problem identification and proposal development.

The guide includes a user-friendly tool, built on the vast array already available in this area, to guide researchers through a gender analysis at the beginning of their work, with a matrix to help them understand how gender considerations interact with their study topic. The authors see researchers coming back to the tool over and over again, helping them to build context and apply findings.

In stage one the guide helps with problem identification – including a checklist to prompt reflection and a systematic approach. Stage two cover proposal development and integrating gender and equity into study design, while stage three looks at implementation and data collection, including sampling and gender sensitive training for data collectors. Stage four examines data analysis, and outlines some of the common pitfalls when incorporating gender and equity considerations in data analysis. Stage five covers reporting and dissemination, including the use of gender sensitive and inclusive language and representation. Find out more about the resource and download it on the ICARS website.