Transforming Gender Norms, Roles and Power Dynamics for Better Health in India

A dissemination event and two-day workshop held October 15-17, 2014, in New Delhi, India, shared findings from a systematic review of the influences of gender-integrated programming on health outcomes.

Keynote speaker, Namita Bhandare, is a journalist who focuses on women's issues
Keynote speaker, Namita Bhandare, is a journalist who focuses on women's issues. Photo by Jessica Fehringer, MEASURE Evaluation.

A dissemination event and two-day workshop held October 15-17, 2014, in New Delhi, India, shared findings from a systematic review of the influences of gender-integrated programming on health outcomes. Workshop participants learned about integrating evidence-based gender strategies into health policies and programs as well as how to monitor and evaluate gender-integrated programs.

The systematic review was carried out under the Gender, Policy, and Measurement (GPM) program, which is funded by the USAID Asia Bureau and is jointly implemented by the Health Policy Project (HPP) and MEASURE Evaluation. Commissioned by USAID/India, HPP and MEASURE Evaluation, together with the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), undertook the global systematic review. The review examined how gender-integrated programming influences reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, and adolescent health outcomes. The review also looked at the influences on HIV and AIDS, gender-based violence, tuberculosis, and universal health coverage outcomes in low and middle income countries across the globe, with a special focus on India.

The review found gender-aware programs generally improved health status, health behaviors, and health knowledge. Transformative programs typically went further, shaping gender-equitable attitudes, increasing the frequency of joint decision making by men and women, and increasing women’s self-confidence and self-efficacy. Notably, only 45% of evaluations of gender-aware programs reported achieving gender-related outcomes and just two (of 146) evaluations examined the added value of gender integration to achievement of health outcomes. The full findings of the review are shared in the Transforming Gender Norms, Roles, and Powers for Better Health: Evidence from a Systematic Review of Gender-Integrated Health Programs in Low-and Middle-Income Countries report.

A gender-integrated programs resource document is also available, as well as a series of nine subject briefing papers related to the report.

The dissemination event on October 15 presented findings from the systematic review to government officials, nongovernmental organizations, donors, and other key stakeholders involved in health programming in India. A series of expert panel sessions supplemented the presentation of findings by highlighting successes, challenges, and lessons learned about current gender-integrated programming in India.

Following the dissemination event, the two-day workshop provided participants with practical approaches and tools to integrate evidence-based gender strategies into health policies and programs as well as to monitor and evaluated these activities. State-level health officials from seven states, representatives from USAID implementing partners in those states, and USAID/India health office staff participated in the workshop. Participants gained the skills needed to take findings from the systematic review forward and implement, monitor, and evaluate evidence-based gender strategies in their states.

The review findings and the skills acquired in the workshop will help the government of India apply local, regional, and global evidence on the effects of gender-integrated programming on health outcomes. It will also help in understanding and applying gender strategies that have proven most effective in achieving impact and improving gender and health M&E. These findings can further augment efforts towards gender equality and the empowerment of women and also lead to solid program designs, strong implementation, and effective monitoring and evaluation.