New collaborative study calls on SRHR and masculinities field to shape future research agenda

A new international study is looking to set the future research priorities around masculinities and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

The survey is part of a research priority setting exercise that is a collaboration between the World Health Organization, MenEngage Alliance, Queen’s University Belfast, University of the Western Cape, and Stellenbosch University.

The initiative builds on more than a decade of research and programming on masculinities and SRHR and the evidence gaps that emerge from prior efforts.

The research priority setting exercise aims to ‘steer the next generation of research funding and research on the topic of engaging men and boys in SRHR from the basis of an inclusive, rigorous and transparent process of engagement with stakeholders.’ By working through a collaborative approach with a highly consultative methodology, the project aims to create robust insights into the needs and gaps that future research can address.

The project partners are calling on individuals and organizations with expertise and/or experience in the field of SRHR and gender equality to respond to the survey by December 12th.

The survey is available in English, French, and Spanish.

Project goals

The project goals are to:

  • Identify the most important gaps in current evidence and highlight priority areas to shape a collaborative research agenda for the next decade.
  • Guide research expenditure so that scarce resources are spent effectively and equitably.
  • Advocate the promotion areas of research that have been identified as being important.
  • Support research planning and fundraising for this field of research.

The survey stage follows a ‘Question Generation’ phase in which key stakeholders nominated priority research questions. This was followed by a process to consolidate and refine the questions by the Project Steering Group and Expert Reference Group. This refined list of questions is now being put to the survey respondents to prioritize.

Dr Avni Amin from the Department for Reproductive Health Research at World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, said:

“A feminist and accountable SRHR agenda needs to be inclusive of men and be intentionally transformative in challenging harmful masculinities and patriarchal power structures. To contribute to this vision, we need a co-created priority research agenda that helps us identify questions to help us better understand how masculinities influence SRHR in the current context, how programmes can address transform masculinities, and how we can document successes with robust methods.”

For a brief overview of the  question generation stage, you can watch this short 3-minute video:

MenEngage Alliance and SRHR

MenEngage Alliance is an international network for transforming masculinities and working with men and boys for gender justice. Part of this political agenda means supporting work to advance SRHR, including challenging stigma, discrimination, attitudes and laws that undermine the fulfillment of SRHR for all.

Representing MenEngage Alliance on the Steering Committee for the research priority setting exercise is Magaly Marques, Senior Advisor for MenEngage Alliance. Marques said:

“SRHR is an important topic of work and research for many of our members and partners and became a key topic of discussion during the 3rd MenEngage Global Symposium—the Ubuntu Symposium.

“There is a shared sense among many MenEngage Alliance members that it’s time to assess our practices of engaging men in SRHR. We need to take stock of the field and cross-check promising practices with the goal of achieving inclusive gender equity and improved sexual and reproductive health. This research priority setting exercise is an opportunity to refocus, and to do so in an intersectional way in which men and boys have a place and role, particularly for transforming masculinities.”

A key role for MenEngage Alliance within the partnership is to engage relevant people and organizations in this exercise. So far, this has included feminist groups working on male engagement and masculinities, family planning organizations, academia, practitioners involved in comprehensive sexuality education, advocates for abortion rights, advocates for LGBTIQ services, and those working to end child marriage. For all these issues, MenEngage Alliance members should aim to add value to feminist women-led initiatives by unpacking the role masculinities play, and working in accountable ways on improving SRHR for all.

To help ensure a broad and diverse range of participants in the survey, MenEngage Alliance has developed a comprehensive database of stakeholders working at the intersections of masculinities and SRHR—including researchers, practitioners, policy makers, professional associations, advocates, and civil society groups.

Click here for more about the work of MenEngage Alliance on SRHR.

The research priority setting exercise follows a previous study involving several of the current project’s partners that showed that most initiatives to engage men and boys in SRHR are not gender transformative. The systematic review of reviews published in 2019 and 2020 in the BMJ Global Health showed that, despite the benefit of gender-transformative approaches with men and boys for SRHR, most interventions included in the review cannot be considered gender transformative.

More information may be found at the World Health Organization website. To participate in the current phase of this exercise, simply choose the language you are most comfortable with, and click on the link of your preference to answer to our survey: English, Spanish, or French.  At the end of this exercise we expect to see shared and agreed upon priorities for future research, and a transparent way to be accountable to a feminist SRHR agenda.

23 November 2022