Managing Reproductive Health Services with a Gender Perspective

Gender is one of the most important factors to consider in designing, managing, and delivering reproductive health services. Yet gender may also be the least understood characteristic in terms of how women’s and men’s health needs differ and how those differences can best be addressed.

In many countries, gender significantly influences a person’s ability to access health services. Differences in influence or power relations between women and men may, for example, determine whether women can purchase or use a contraceptive, and therefore, how vulnerable they might be to an unintended pregnancy or to a sexually transmitted infection. Or, attitudes towards “masculinity” may result in some men continuing sexual practices that affect their own health and endanger the health and lives of their families. Awareness of such conditions and the adoption of appropriate responses can help women and men to improve their health and advance in life, and can enrich the quality of life in their communities.

The roles that women and men play should guide the ways in which clinic staff assess their clients’ needs and provide care. This edition of The Manager shows how awareness of gender issues can improve the design, management, and delivery of health services, and takes you step by step through the process of assessing the influence of gender on organizational management.