Engaging Men

Traditional FP programs focused almost exclusively on women, failing to recognize that men play a significant role in reproductive health decision-making. In 1994, the Program of Action from the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo highlighted the importance of involving men in reproductive health, recognizing that “male responsibilities and participation are critical aspects for improving reproductive health outcomes, and achieving gender equality, equity, and empowering women.” [1]

Research has shown that men ARE willing to change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors relating to reproductive health when they are given the information and support to do so.[2] Involving men in FP can happen in their roles as clients, as supportive partners, or as agents of change around community norms. The appropriate information and education on the benefits of FP can encourage a man to support his partner in achieving FP success and allow him to be an active participant in planning the number and spacing of his children.

Men’s roles as clients themselves can contribute to FP by encouraging the use of male methods, such as vasectomy and condoms. While vasectomy is currently poorly accepted due largely to misconceptions, it is the simplest, safest, and least expensive of the permanent methods.

Key Resources for Engaging Men in FP:


[1] Program of Action, adopted at ICPD, Cairo, September, 1994.

[2] Barker G., Ricardo C., and Nascimento M. 2007. Engaging Men and Boys in Changing Gender-Based Inequity in Health: Evidence From Programme Interventions. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.