Gender Matters

Texas currently has the third highest teenage pregnancy rate in the United States, with more than 73,000 girls becoming pregnant each year. Many public schools in Texas teach an abstinence-only curriculum, leaving a large number of teens without the sexual and reproductive health information they desperately need.

EngenderHealth is working to change this. Since 2011, EngenderHealth has implemented Gender Matters (Gen.M) in Travis County, Texas, where the teenage pregnancy rate exceeds that of the state.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Gen.M is a cutting-edge pregnancy prevention and violence prevention curriculum-based educational program that builds on our pioneering work with men across 26 countries through the Gender & Men As Partners program.

Focusing on youth ages 14-16, Gen.M works in partnership with SafePlace and the Travis County Summer Youth Employment Program to educate and encourage them through:

  • A 20-hour curriculum-based educational workshop
  • A social media campaign,
  • Youth-generated video messages about gender, relationships, sexual decision making, and prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Gen.M also explores how inequitable and unhealthy gender norms affect adolescent sexual decision making. Gen.M underwent a randomized controlled study with 14-16 year-old youth in central Texas. Gender Matters has been replicated with older youth (18-24 years old) in Austin and implemented in a rural community setting in southern Oklahoma. EngenderHealth also worked with experts in Native health programming to create an inter-tribal Adaptation Manual for implementing Gender Matters with Native youth.

Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, another partner, is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the project.