Our Framework for Achieving Gender Equality
We are committed to achieving gender equality through sexual and reproductive health and rights programs that ensure equity and compensate for historical and social disadvantages that have prevented women and girls from operating on a level playing field. Our approaches are tailored to the individual women and girls we serve, accounting for their unique experiences and the environments in which they live.
We work through gender-equitable approaches to ensure women and girls can access quality sexual and reproductive health information and services. Ensuring equitable access means often means encouraging self-reflection among EngenderHealth staff members, facility-based health providers, community health workers, and the communities in which women and girls live to challenge their own stereotypes and biases and contribute to gender-transformative change.
Our Approach to Gender-Equitable Programming
Building Agency. Through our programs, we aspire for women and girls to take charge of their own bodies and their own lives, to take purposeful action and pursue their sexual and reproductive health-related intentions, free from fear or backlash. We build the agency of women and girls by ensuring their access to:
- Age- and context-specific sexual and reproductive health-related knowledge inclusive of information about contraception, safe abortion, safe pregnancy, antenatal care, postnatal care, and gender-based violence
- Age- and context-specific sexual and reproductive health-related skills inclusive of effective communication, negotiation, and problem-solving skills
- Age- and context-specific sexual and reproductive health-related decision-making power inclusive of use of contraception, having children, going for an abortion
- Opportunities for leadership inclusive of self-esteem, self-confidence, and personal aspiration
Transforming Structures: Through our programs, we ensure that the structures and systems that women and girls routinely interact with (health, education, legal, community) are conducive to the empowerment of women and girls. Our engagement includes:
- Working with civil society networks to advocate for gender equality in sexual and reproductive health-related laws and policies
- Working with governments to build capacities of health facility and health systems staff in provision of sexual and reproductive health services with a gender lens
- Working with community-based groups to change unjust gender and social norms that affect access to sexual and reproductive health and rights
Changing Relations. Women and girls often must negotiate their sexual and reproductive-related goals and intentions with their partners, family members, peers, and other immediate influencers. Through our programs, we seek to change power dynamics and relations through approaches including:
- Engagement of men and boys, including adaptation of EngenderHealth’s Men As Partners approach with a clear focus on gender-transformative messaging, and working with groups of men, adolescent boys, and male champions to challenge unjust gender and social norms
- Engagement of families on equitable decision making related to contraception and abortion
- Engagement of women and girls in self-help groups to build collective movements for championing and advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights
The Gender, Youth, and Social Inclusion Marker: A Tool for Internal Reflection & Change
EngenderHealth’s Gender, Youth, and Social Inclusion Marker* is an internal accountability and monitoring tool that helps programs to assess the degree of gender and youth integration within our programs. This helps teams to track, improve, and support gender and youth transformative approaches. The Marker grades programs based on five critical criteria—analysis, activities, participation, negative effects, and monitoring and evaluation—using Gender Integration and Youth Integration Continuums (below). Program teams are encouraged to use the tool during all phases, from design to implementation to evaluation.
*The Gender, Youth, and Social Inclusion Marker is adapted from two global gender markers—CARE International’s Gender Marker and the European Commission’s Gender and Age Marker. Youth integration refers to the integration of all young people (inclusive of adolescents and youth) ages 10-24. For ease of reference, the tool is called the youth marker but is inclusive of and calls attention to the integration of adolescents and youth.
Read more about our Global Strategy for Gender-Transformative Programs.