Gender Equity and Sensitivity in Service Delivery

Welcome to the programmatic area on gender equity and sensitivity in service delivery within MEASURE Evaluation’s Family Planning and Reproductive Health Indicators Database. This is one of the subareas found in the service delivery section of the database. All indicators for this area include a definition, data requirements, data source(s), purpose, issues and—if relevant—gender implications.

  • Reproductive health (RH) programs operate within the cultural context of a given society, including its manifestations of gender inequality. While family planning/RH programs do not redress these imbalances at a macro level, they can promote gender equality in areas within their manageable control (e.g., improve communication between providers and clients; allow men to access services). Indeed, reducing gender-related obstacles to improved RH can work synergistically with other development activities to enhance gender equality (Yinger et al., 2001).
  • The indicators in this section address the following questions:
    1. Is the organization free of gender bias in its managerial structure? Does the organization actively foster gender equity in its routine operations?
    2. Is the service delivery environment free of gender bias toward female and male clients? Does the health facility promote gender equality in the way it offers services?  Are men encouraged to use services for their own health (e.g., HIV/AIDS, voluntary medical male circumcision, vasectomy, sexually transmitted infections)?
  • Key indicators to monitor and evaluate gender equity and sensitivity can be found in the links at left.

 

Full Text

Reproductive health (RH) programs operate within the cultural context of a given society, including its manifestations of gender inequality.  While family planning/RH programs do not redress these imbalances at a macro-level, they can promote gender equality in areas within their manageable control (e.g., improve communication between providers and clients, allow men to access services).  Indeed, reducing gender-related obstacles to improved RH can work synergistically with other development activities to enhance gender equality (Yinger et al., 2001).

These indicators focusing on gender issues in the organizational context, do not try to capture the deep-seated gender inequalities existing in most countries worldwide. (See the Women and Girls' Status and Empowerment indicators in this database.) Nor does the section address the consequences of gender discrimination in the form of injurious social outcomes.  (See the Sexual and Gender-based Violence indicators and "Violence Against Women and Girls: A Compendium of Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators" (Bloom, 2008).)  Rather, the two sets of gender-related indicators in this section address the following questions:

 1) Is the organization free of gender bias in its managerial structure? Does the organization actively foster gender equity in its routine operations?

(2) Is the service delivery environment free of gender bias toward female and male clients? Does the health facility promote gender equality in the way it offers services?  Are men encouraged to use services for their own health (e.g., HIV/AIDS, voluntary male circumcision, vasectomy, sexually transmitted infections)?

The two indicators (for gender equity in the organizational context and gender sensitivity in the service delivery environment) draw on two primary sources: the report by the Interagency Gender Working Group (Yinger et al, 2001) and the Manual to Evaluate Quality of Care from a Gender Perspective (IPPF/WHR, 2000b). The indicators represent an effort to combine good ideas from two credible sources into a practical menu of indicators that assess gender-equity in an organizational context.  As such, this "instrument" has not been tested in this form, although individual items have been used at the field level.  These two sets of gender-related measures have been included to encourage the further testing and development of indicators in this area.

Organizations may use the gender-related indicators in three ways:

  • Tracking these indicators as an ongoing part of monitoring their services;  
  • Setting up an external evaluation of the organization based on these indicators, to be conducted by a person familiar with RH programs as well as gender issues; and 
  • Using the indicators as a self-assessment tool for a special study to systematically examine their own record on gender equity and sensitivity in the workplace.

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References:

International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region Inc. 2000b. Manual to Evaluate Quality of Care from a Gender Perspective. New York, NY: IPPF/WHR.

Yinger, N., A. Peterson, M. Avni, J. Gay, R. Firestone, K. Hardee, E. Murphy, B. Herstad, and C. Johnson-Welch. 2001. Mainstreaming Gender in Monitoring and Evaluation: A Practical Approach for Reproductive Health and Nutrition Programming. Interagency Gender Working Group, Subcommittee on Research and Indicators. (Unpublished)