In 2011, EngenderHealth launched the 5-year Gender Matters project (Gen.M) in Travis County, Texas, where the teenage pregnancy rate exceeds that of the state’s. Texas currently has the third highest teenage pregnancy rate in the United States, with more than 73,000 girls becoming pregnant each year.
Supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Gender Matters is testing an innovative approach that builds on EngenderHealth’s pioneering work with men across 26 countries through the Gender & Men As Partners program. Focusing on youth ages 14 to 16, the program works in partnership with SafePlace and the Travis County Summer Youth Employment Program to educate them and encourage:
- Delayed age at first sexual intercourse
- Increased use of effective contraceptive methods, including hormonal contraception and IUDs
- Increased consistent and correct usage of condoms
Gender Matters comprises three components: 1) a five-day educational workshop, 2) a text message and Facebook campaign that reinforces messages about healthy behaviors, gender norms, and peer support, and 3) a series of three community events that further underscore the messages from the workshop and text message/Facebook campaign.
Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, another partner, is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the project.
For more information, visit the EngenderHealth Youth site.