Global Resources

Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health: a Subject as much for Men as for Women

Publisher: United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women
Publication Date: May 2003
How are men involved in the sexual and reproductive health of women? This working paper of the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW) is an overview of research on the extent of men's participation in women's health. The analysis begins with an exploration of gender, gender roles and masculinity and how these ideas contribute to our understanding of power imbalances between women and men. The role of men in women's health is further broken down into sub-themes such as family planning, responsible fatherhood, adolescence and youth and accessing sexual and reproductive health care. It emerges that traditional models of masculinity continue to dominate how the role of men is defined, thereby perpetuating inequality between women and men, and providing excuses for men to avoid supporting women's health. This results, for example, in reduced responsibility for contraception by men, and increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Future areas where research is needed include the need to evaluate positive initiatives to involve men in women's health.
How are men involved in the sexual and reproductive health of women? This working paper of the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW) is an overview of research on the extent of men's participation in women's health. The analysis begins with an exploration of gender, gender roles and masculinity and how these ideas contribute to our understanding of power imbalances between women and men. The role of men in women's health is further broken down into sub-themes such as family planning, responsible fatherhood, adolescence and youth and accessing sexual and reproductive health care. It emerges that traditional models of masculinity continue to dominate how the role of men is defined, thereby perpetuating inequality between women and men, and providing excuses for men to avoid supporting women's health. This results, for example, in reduced responsibility for contraception by men, and increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Future areas where research is needed include the need to evaluate positive initiatives to involve men in women's health.