2019 CUGH Conference    I    March 8 - 10, 2019   I   Satellite Sessions  March 7, 2019   |   Hilton  Chicago Hotel    I   Chicago, IL​​

Satellite Session | HALF DAY Workshop

Gender Norms & Family Planning


Thursday March 7, 2019
Time: 1pm - 5pm

Hilton Chicago Hotel
Chicago, Ilinois

  • Registration is free but required.
  • Registration for the satellite session is separate from registration for the CUGH conference.

Dr. Elizabeth Reed
Anvita Dixit
Sneha Challa

Speakers will present family planning interventions from Niger, India, and Bangladesh that seek to promote gender equitable norms supportive of joint decision-making and acceptability of family planning. Attendees will learn about three unique limited-resource settings and gain insight into the challenges and success of implementing programs in each.

In Niger, only 16% of women use contraceptives. While 56% of women in India use contraceptives, method choice skews towards permanent methods (38% female sterilization). In Bangladesh, 62% of women use contraceptives. Expansion of method mix is needed to include long acting reversible contraceptives (2% current use). While these three contexts are very different, all programs use gender transformative approaches to help women to acheive their reproductive goals. Due to women's low status in many contexts, they often lose decision-making power related to contraceptive method use and pregnancy timing. The highlighted interventions utilize approaches that engage men and women to intentionally challenge inequitable gender norms, encourage joint reproductive decision-making, and improve health by reducing reproductive coercion (forcing women to get pregnant when they are not ready or do not desire a pregnancy), unintended pregnancies, and rapid repeat pregnancies.

The session will utilize presentations and small group discussions to highlight common theoretical foundations of these approaches, the different unique cultural contexts of each program, and the various intervention components. Preliminary results will also be shared. Discussions will focus on implications for future programs and adaptations to other global contexts.

Participants will gain insight into the implementation and effects of three family planning promotion interventions in unique contexts (Niger, India, Bangladesh) with particular emphasis on the common gender transformative approach that seeks to engage women and girls, men and boys to change norms around acceptability of family planning.

Anvita Dixit
Anvita Dixit is a PhD student in the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health. She is working at the Center for Gender Equity and Health, UC San Diego as a Predoctoral Fellow. Anvita is interested in identifying critical research gaps in the area of family planning and its associations with gender based violence for the most marginalized populations. Her goal is to generate evidence filling gaps between health research and well-planned interventions for program and policy. She earned her BSc in Psychology and Sociology, and MSc in Health Psychology from the University of Sussex, UK. Anvita worked in the Reproductive Health program of the Population Council in India, where
she contributed to research on providers’ attitude towards emergency contraception, evaluation of a mobile outreach program providing intra-uterine devices and sterilization services, leveraging women’s self-help groups as community mobilization platforms for improving reproductive maternal and child health behaviors, and assessing feasibility of introducing injectable contraceptives in the national program.
She also interned with various social development agencies including UNICEF Kenya, UNFPA India, and Koinonia Community (a community level NGO in Kenya) on a variety of programs including health communication, adolescent reproductive health and life skills, HIV testing and
counseling, and rehabilitation of street children. Anvita’s childhood was in New Delhi, India and then she went to high school in Geneva, Switzerland, where her interests in global reproductive health, gender equity, and health policy were inspired in the surroundings of the International School and the United Nations.

Sneha Challa
Sneha Challa is a Doctoral Student in the San Diego State University (SDSU)–University of California San Diego (UCSD) Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health and Graduate Student Researcher at the UCSD Center on Gender Equity and Health. Inspired by the women in her life who overcame traditional gender norms to pursue education and employment,she has recognized the importance of choice in her own life. She believes that this ability to choose is the key to women’s empowerment and her long-term goal is to promote reproductive choice for
women globally. She began her career conducting researchat the University of Michigan and with the United States Agency for International Development focused on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and related public health interventions. This work has emphasized
the multi-level factors that influence adolescent sexual behavior and decision making and the importance of promoting gender norm change. Through her work, she has traveled to countries including India, Honduras, Ghana, and Niger and learned about the many cultural and social factors that shape SRH behaviors, an understanding she feels is important to conducting research outside of one’sown culture, particularly in situations involving understudied populations. These formative experiences and her ongoing training have inspired her research interests in understanding relationship dynamics between young girls and their male partners and how these dynamics affect sexual behaviors. Ultimately, she hopes to contribute to research that examines safe and effective ways to engage males as supportive partners in contraceptive use decision making and behaviors.