Publication Date
August 14, 2014

"Gender transformative approaches (GTA) are programs and interventions that create opportunities for individuals to actively challenge gender norms, promote positions of social and political influence for women in communities, and address power inequities between persons of different genders."

This Health Communication Capacity (HC3) Research Primer summarises GTA in the context of health and social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) so as to "address multi-leveled power hierarchies in communities that impede an individual’s ability to make decisions about his/her health...", for example, women's access to health services, condom use, partner reduction, and birth spacing. GTA create an enabling environment for gender transformation through the integration of gender issues into all aspects of programme and policy conceptualisation, development, implementation, and evaluation; thus, they include benefits for men, for example, encouraging HIV-related service use among men and increasing men’s contraceptive use. "These approaches strive to shift gendered community perspectives and social relationships towards perspectives of equality that allow both women and men to achieve their full potential within a society."

As stated here, GTA should be used in "all aspects of SBCC programming and policy, including program design, implementation and evaluation." This might include steps such as a gender sensitivity training in a capacity building effort and a conversation about gender that presents individuals and communities with an opportunity to reflect critically on how gender norms affect the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Implementors should incorporate gender indicators as measurements for evaluation to determine whether or not GTA have been successful at changing gender norms and behaviours within communities. Gender-based analysis (GBA), using measurements such as the Gender Beliefs Scale, the Gender Equitable Men Scale, and the Women’s Empowerment Scale, can be used as both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods related back to the different roles and responsibilities that culture assigns men and women, particularly around power and decision-making. 

"Additionally, the Gender Equality Continuum Tool (GEC), developed by the Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG) outlines a series of steps that represent where an SBCC program sits on the path from 'Gender Exploitative' to 'Gender Transformative.' The GEC also includes a series of questions that can help implementers assess how well SBCC interventions are currently addressing gender considerations, and to determine how best to move along the continuum toward more transformative gender programming. Taking the GEC into consideration during both program planning and evaluation can help ensure gender transformative approaches are being used effectively." A table of sample gender indicators is included in the primer, as well as an example of the African Transformation Project (AT) in Uganda, a video screening project with facilitated discussion on gender and community action.