Dismantling social norms that prevent access to family planning


FP2030 has concluded a “gender mapping” process throughout its regional hubs, which confirmed social norms, often influenced by religion, culture, and traditions, as well as economic issues, are preventing women, adolescents, young people, and other groups from accessing key information and services on sexual reproductive health. The East and Southern Africa (ESA) Regional Hub just completed a new training to better inform their work through a gender lens.

This analysis was completed in partnership with Karabo Mokgonyana, an independent consultant.

In the East and Southern Africa region, surveying and study revealed regional gender norms are enforced by strong sanctions and influenced by religion, culture, and traditions. This combined with fear and control of adolescent girls’ sexuality, including child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and female genital mutilation, has resulted in apush back against adolescent and youth sexual reproductive health and rights as well as comprehensive sexual education.&

Economic discrimination and exclusion were also highlighted as slowing progress on universal health coverage for women, adolescents, and young people.

Mary Beth Hastings, FP2030 Gender Advisor, said, “the mapping included identifying existing gender transformative approaches in the region and gaps where additional gender transformative approaches might be piloted or scaled. It also included identifying feminist, LGBTQIA+, and other civil society organizations explicitly working on gender equality within each hub’s priority countries who can be instrumental partners in accountability processes and in developing or implementing gender transformative approaches.”

The assessment focused on commitments from the region and what gender-related barriers they might face in reaching their commitment objectives, particularly barriers rooted in gender inequalities and other forms of social exclusion and power imbalances.

The gender analyses and technical resource mapping identified, for example, areas of regional collaboration on gender-integrated approaches and opportunities for south-south technical assistance, such as where an effective gender-transformative male engagement intervention in one country might be adapted or scaled up in another country.

The assessment primarily focused on the regional level, with specific attention to eight countries: Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. The assessment drew from existing recent gender analyses – particularly those focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the region.