Gender equity is an important determinant of health, especially in the area of reproductive health and family planning. Yet, evaluating the relationship between gender equity and family planning programs is not a simple task. The Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) analyzed four country programs to determine if there is a significant relationship between gender equity and current use of family planning, and also whether exposure to communication intervention components is significantly associated with gender equity. The analysis included family planning ideation, how knowledge, attitudinal, social support and social interaction variables can together predict family planning behavior and use.
Examining four country projects
From its review of existing data sets from the four country programs, HC3 researchers concluded that communication programs designed to influence gender constructs and family planning ideation and use should be more explicit and strategic in addressing the norms they are designed to influence. They also recommended that researchers move beyond the individual when evaluating these programs to integrate other levels of gender equity, including couples, the community and society overall.
A group of women hold their newborns while listening to a health worker counsel them on family planning at the Institute of Public Health, Family Planning Clinic in Kampala, Uganda. Credit: © 2001 Hugh Rigby, Courtesy of Photoshare
HC3 examined four SBCC family planning programs to understand if gender equity played a role in their outcomes: