Getting to Equal: Engaging Men and Boys in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Gender Equality
Unmet sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs are a critical threat to the health of individuals worldwide, and gender inequalities remain a significant barrier to addressing such health issues. Harmful gender norms and attitudes influence men’s and women’s health and well-being, shaping men’s behaviors in ways that have a direct impact on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of their partners, their families, and themselves. At the same time, SRH and family planning issues are often treated as women’s responsibility. Global frameworks have traditionally failed to adequately address the ways in which inequitable gender dynamics and masculinities play a role in perpetuating poor SRH outcomes, a paradigm that ensures women continue to bear the responsibility of family planning, exacerbates gender inequalities, and leads to suboptimal health outcomes for people of all gender identities.
This Call to Action brief on men, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and gender equality aims to advance the conversation with policymakers, donors, implementers, and activists, and to identify opportunities for further collaboration among advocates. The document highlights guiding principles, identifies 10 priority areas for action, and shares global opportunities for the SRHR community on engaging men and boys as clients, partners, and advocates. This work should support, complement, and build on past and ongoing transformative work by feminist and women’s rights organizations and activists.