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Changing men's behaviour can improve women's health
By innovative and well designed programs it is possible to involve men in changing sexist, risky and violent behaviour. This is the conclusion of a WHO report which has reviewed 58 programs aimed at engaging men in changing male identity and behaviour.
The report, Engaging men and boys in changing gender-based inequity in health, found that almost a third of the 58 programmes evaluated were successful in encouraging men to end violence against women, to care for their pregnant wives and children, and to take steps to prevent infecting their partners with HIV or becoming infected themselves. Such changes in men’s behaviour prove to benefit not only women, but also boys, men and the community at large. “
Gender [behaviour] transformation allowing women and men to discuss and decide on health, when that may not typically be the case, is the gold standard,” said Dr Peju Olukoya, Integrating Gender into Public Health unit coordinator at the launch of the WHO report. Unequal power relations between the sexes affect women’s health, she said: “In some places women cannot even seek health care unless they get permission from a man.”
A global network of organizations working with men to change men is now being established; MenEngage. More information here at their web site.