In March 2015, HC3 completed a secondary analysis of communication programs in four countries in an effort to answer the following:
- Is there a significant relationship between gender equity and current use of family planning?
- Is exposure to communication intervention components significantly associated with gender equity?
- Does gender equity affect the relationship between intervention exposure and current use of family planning?
Data sets from the Support for Service Delivery Integration-Communication (SSDI) Program in Malawi, the Urban Health Initiative in India, the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative and EngenderHealth’s ACQUIRE project in Tanzania were examined to reveal what, if any, impact the projects had on contraceptive use through communication program exposure and gender equity emphases.
Though exposure to communication campaigns was positively associated with modern contraceptive use in three of the four country programs, key findings did not show any evidence that gender equity played mediating or moderating roles in the relationship between exposure to communication messages and contraceptive use. The analysis did reveal a suggested relationship between more equitable gender attitudes and increased likelihood of family planning use, but was unable to determine the communication programs’ impact on this relationship. This was perhaps because none of the programs — with the exception of ACQUIRE — explicitly addressed gender norms in their activities or project evaluations.
The analysis, available in a full report and a four-page summary, emphasizes the need to more purposely address gender norms in family planning communication programs if they are to have a lasting effect on gender equity, and highlights the need for refinement of existing measures of gender equity overall.