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Gender Transformative Approach

Across all our international programmes we use a gender transformative approach to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all. This approach examines, questions and transforms inequitable gender norms and power dynamics into positive values that directly enhance gender equality. This, in turn, improves access to health and rights for all.

Addressing Power Dynamics

For many people, restrictive gender norms and imbalances in power, stand in the way of receiving the information and knowledge needed to make well-informed choices. A growing body of evidence shows that this harms the sexuality of young people, women and people with diverse gender identities, as well as men themselves. Therefore we address this the various fields we work in, from comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) and youth-friendly services, to the prevention of violence, making sure the institutions we work with take this approach on board too.



Rutgers' Gender Transformative Approach explained in 2 minutes

Better Outcomes

When boys pass their initiation, they no longer respect me as a teacher because I am a woman. This makes teaching them impossible. I really want these harmful norms to change, so that both boys and girls are no longer hurt by them and can enjoy their youth and right to education. A gender transformative approach helps them talk more freely about gender, sexuality and power abuse in our sexuality education at school.”     -    Zambian School Teacher

We know gender transformative approaches work. For example, if a CSE programme pays explicit attention to gender and power, it’s five times more likely to be successful in preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Another recent study reveals targeted, gender transformative programming on health and violence leads to 40% less violence against a partner and increased contraceptive use. In the MenCare programme we also saw greater involvement of women in the decision-making in the household.

Working across levels

When addressing the rigid gender norms that prevent good SRHR outcomes, Rutgers’ international programmes work on the different levels simultaneously of the socio-ecological model. This means our interventions do not focus solely on norm changes in individuals, but also in their environment, such as schools, work or media. SRHR programmes that work on these levels simultaneously are proven to be better than interventions focussing on one level. We also work closely with institutions, such as police forces, prisons and local government offices, making sure they incorporate GTA as partners. Addressing gender norms on all levels yields better results. 

Gender Transformative Approaches in our Work

Rutgers considers all individuals gendered. Men, boys and people with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations, have often been left out of traditional gender mainstreaming, even though they have vital roles to play in the process of gender equality. Addressing these norms at the individual, institutional and societal level changes inequalities and facilitates sustainable social change. We have a special focus on institutions.

We share ideas and discuss on various issues affecting us as youths and how we can come up with lasting solutions. We talk about gender norms and why they seem not to go away, but stick around generation after generation.”   -    Zopher (GUSO Programme)

Need Support with GTA?

Not only do we incorporate GTA in all our own work, we also offer support to organisations wishing to include this approach in their SRHR work. A toolkit has been created that sets out the best ways to work with GTA at different levels of the socio-ecological model. The different modules of this toolkit are available for download for free on our site. We also host trainings and workshops in GTA and support organisations that want to integrate our proven approaches in their organisation, SRHR and GBV prevention programming. Around the globe, we work with skilled Master Trainers who are experienced in using our toolkit in different contexts.
Always aiming to improve and add to our approach, we invite other organisations to exchange knowledge on the most effective ways of working. We also conduct research aimed at expanding our evidence base.



For various resources on our Gender Transformative Approach, check our Resources page.


For Operational Research on Rutgers' gender transformative approach in SRHR in programmes, check here.


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