Family planning conversations in the global health field often revolve around women and girls. How do social norms influence their behavior? What innovations will better empower them to make family planning decisions?
Yet, the reality is that inequalities in power and privilege among men and women often give men greater decision-making power in relationships and limit women’s ability to control basic family planning practices. Men are a critical and influential part of family planning, but there is a lack of existing research aimed at understanding men’s experiences, social pressures, and/or preferences. Men are often portrayed as the aggressor yet gendered norms and expectations play an important role in influencing men’s behavior as well.
In an effort to bridge this gap, FSG is partnering with YLabs and VOTO Mobile on a project called “Men Stand Up,” which recently received a grant from Grand Challenges Exploration, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Men Stand Up” aims to increase men’s involvement in family planning through a greater understanding of men’s behaviors, needs, and preferences. Throughout the project, we’ll pair mobile-powered research and user-centered design to inform the design of new family planning technologies and services grounded in user insights from young men in Mali, Nigeria, Kenya, and India.
Our hope is that through bringing young men into the conversation, we can design solutions that increase the uptake of family planning by men and women, creating better outcomes for all. We look forward to sharing early learning from this work with the field in 2017.