Nearly 20 years after the Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG) adapted the Gender Integration Continuum framework to depict and explain a range of approaches for gender integration in programming, the use of the term gender transformative by policymakers, donors, implementing agencies, and civil society actors has increased dramatically. At the same time, new questions, tensions, and critiques about the implementation of gender transformative programming have emerged.
On Oct. 28, 2021, more than 200 participants from 40 countries joined the 2021 IGWG Plenary: “Exploring Gender Transformative Approaches: Lessons Learned and New Opportunities in Health Programming.” The event served as a springboard for stakeholder dialogue in exploring gender experts’ and advocates’ collective understanding of gender transformative programming, with the goal of coalescing on key findings and areas for future action.
Key discussion points that emerged during the event are synthesized in a meeting report. The report also provides actionable recommendations for donors, decisionmakers, researchers, and program implementers to advance the utilization and integration of gender transformative programming.
Takeaways from the event discussion include:
- Inconsistencies in how the term gender transformative is defined can lead to confusion about how these programs are implemented, approaches are applied, and outcomes are measured.
- Implementers and donors should improve the measurement of gender transformative outcomes to promote the adoption and scale-up of successful approaches and mobilize donor support.
- Community leadership in the design and implementation of gender transformative programs is critical.
- Implementers and donors generally recognize the importance of gender transformative programs that address the broader power structures that enable gender norm change, yet programs often focus on individuals, their behavior, and community-level approaches.
- Policy advocates and donors should increase attention to and investments in gender transformative policies.
- Efforts to integrate gender transformative policies within health systems must go beyond strengthening the capacity of health providers.
- More dialogue between implementers and funders may enhance commitments to gender transformative programs.
Learn more about the 2021 IGWG Plenary and access the event recording here.