Reproductive Health: New perspectives on men's participation
This Population Reports issue offers new perspectives that can help achieve the important goal of increasing the commitment of men to reproductive health (RH) and family planning (FP). These perspectives recognize the facts that 1) men often make decisions that are crucial to women's RH; 2) men are interested in FP but need targeted communication and services; 3) it is important to understand and influence the balance of power between the sexes to improve RH behavior; and 4) couples who communicate about FP/RH make better, healthier decisions. The first section of the report reviews the evolution in thinking that has resulted in new attention being paid to men and the ramifications of this change. Next, the report explains why men make a difference and presents the results of surveys revealing that many men favor FP and are concerned about RH. After considering the impact of gender relations and couple communication on RH, the report offers nine major lessons learned about ways to increase male participation by reaching male audiences with appropriate messages, using communication to promote behavior changes, and offering information and services that men want. Highlighted sections provide additional details on male participation, efforts to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, the urgency of addressing young men, how gender roles can harm health, the fact that couples rarely discuss contraception, ways to reach male audiences, using communication to change behavior, and meeting men's needs for information and services.