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How do gender biases affect the services clients receive?

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How do gender biases affect the services clients receive?

Gender perspectives and biases affect the work we do in service delivery. To assess existing biases, AVSC and others are asking the following questions about gender issues:

Biases about clients

  • What gender-based beliefs do staff hold about their roles, and how do those beliefs affect their view of clients?
  • What assumptions do family planning providers make about clients? For example, when treating a married Muslim woman? a female client with multiple partners? a female client with an STI? an unmarried, sexually active adolescent girl?
  • How do clinics that have traditionally served women respond when a man requests services? When a couple does so?

Facilities biases

  • How do the location, service structure, and hours of operation of a clinic facilitate or inhibit clients from requesting services?

Management biases

  • How do gender inequities influence professional relationships between different levels of staff?
  • How can female staff be helped to feel comfortable offering services to men when traditional gender roles make it difficult for them to carry out their responsibilities?
  • Similarly, how can male staff be helped to feel comfortable serving women?


Formulating solutions

After assessing service-delivery biases, we need to formulate possible solutions that take into account the client's environment. To do so, we need to ask the following questions:

Gender-based notions of responsibility

  • How can service providers encourage joint responsibility for contraception without requiring joint approval (i.e., spousal consent)?
  • How might a service provider encourage men to feel comfortable using a male method in a society where family planning is considered a woman's issue?

Ideas about sexuality

  • How can service providers foster open discussion with female clients about sexuality and its relevance for safe and satisfactory use of contraceptive methods in societies where women are not allowed to know about, or enjoy, sexuality?
  • In a society where men customarily initiate sexual activity, how can service providers suggest ways that female clients can negotiate condom use without putting themselves at risk?

Gender-based violence

  • How do service providers assess the possibility that physical violence to the client might arise from the provision of a family planning method?

 


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