During a U.N. conference on sustainable development in 2012, 193 countries adopted the sustainable development goals (SDGs). These include a stand-alone gender goal, “SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” thus recognizing that gender equality is an essential base for a healthy, prosperous and sustainable world.
Within MEASURE Evaluation’s areas of expertise, a focus on gender in the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of health programs helps ensure that gender is addressed and measured as a component of programs. We apply this focus also in improving health information systems (HIS) covering all areas in which we work: malaria, HIV, TB, family planning, reproductive health, and others.
MEASURE Evaluation begins by helping health information systems (HIS) collect data needed to address health inequities related to gender. Sex disaggregated data gathered at the health facility and preserved in the national HIS are evidence to analyze if gender inequities exist that affect health outcomes disproportionally, not just for women and men but also for sexual minorities, for example. Such data raises awareness, helps stakeholders advocate for change, and demonstrates program progress and impact.
Aside from analysis of how gender issues are captured in recording health information, it’s also important to consider gender in planning health programs, pay attention to gender issues surrounding what transpires as activities are conducted – for example, is the activity encouraging men and women to change their attitudes or behavior regarding gender – and to measure gender-related outcomes, including effects on gender norms, on gender-related access and use of services, and on health outcomes for all groups.
MEASURE Evaluation also works to increase the use of and demand for gender-related information for program and policy decision making on local and global levels. We use four strategic approaches to achieve this goal:
- Integration of gender into MEASURE Evaluation activities
- Implementation of innovative gender-focus activities that illuminate the effects of gender on health risks, access to and use of health services
- Collaboration in global networks and initiatives related to gender M&E
- Capacity building and training in gender M&E