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WI-HER News2017-01-03T09:57:44+00:00
2711, 2018

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence: Gender-Based Violence and Migration

By Maddison Hall and Kelly Dale Migration–forced and voluntary –exposes refugees, asylum seekers, internally-displaced persons (IDPs), and immigrants to a number of risk factors associated with sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). As we witness rapidly increasing migration rates and unprecedented levels of displacement, it is critical to recognize the ways in which SGBV and displacement are interconnected. We must also develop policies, programs, and services to mitigate SGBV and support individuals among these populations who have experienced SGBV. It is important to note that while sexual and gender-based violence cuts across all ages and affects people of all genders, women and girls bear a disproportionate amount of the burden of SGBV. As a part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, this blog aims to discuss risk factors and outcomes for sexual and gender-based violence during migration and advocate for policies and programs that prevent and respond SGBV. Migrants may experience SGBV before, during, or after migration. Intimate partner violence (IPV) or forced or early marriage are known drivers for migration; these experiences may encourage individuals to flee or escape their abuse. Embarking on their journeys, migrants are vulnerable to abuse from individuals facilitating transportation, immigration officials, or even legal officers. They may be coerced into transactional sexual experiences to continue forward on their journeys, or some are forced into systems of human trafficking. Refugee and migrant hosting countries may not have sound or accessible legal or social support systems, potentially creating additional challenges for victims to access help. Isolation, poverty, housing insecurity, and unsafe living conditions may put them at risk for SGBV. Within their families, financial stress may be high, and immigration can disrupt cultural norms and power balances. Shifting family dynamics and gender norms and roles may contribute to SGBV as migrant families adapt to different lifestyles and cultures. Outside of their homes, migrants may be compelled to trade transactional sex for job security, food, or favors. Migrant workers, especially those without proper immigration documentation, may experience SGBV from their employers or supervisors in their workplace. Migrant populations encounter a variety of legal restrictions and barriers to their ability to work; even in countries in which refugees or immigrants may be granted the right to work, there may be barriers to accessing jobs in the formalized job market, particularly if there are costly or challenging work permit procedures. The inability to work could threaten men’s sense of self, leading to harmful displays of masculinity, including IPV. Migrants involved in informal job sectors are vulnerable to abuse at multiple levels, including SGBV, and they may be unaware of their legal rights relating to employment. Migrants, primarily women and children, face unique hardships along their perilous journeys and additional challenges as they adjust and integrate into new surroundings. There are opportunities for the global development community to support them in this process. First, they need access to a spectrum of health services, opportunities for psychosocial support, and access to legal and justice systems that inform them of [...]

2511, 2018

16 Days of Activism

Today marks the first day of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign- a global movement from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10, Human Rights Day. These 16 days draw attention to the women, men, boys, and girls who are experiencing, have experienced, or will experience violence in their lifetime. Follow along each day as WI-HER shares a “pearl of wisdom”- our pearls will be in the form of new research, programming insights, voices of support, or calls to action. Today, we are sharing some facts and figures: Approximately 35% of women worldwide experience either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence (or both) in their lifetimes. Worldwide, roughly 15 million girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sex. In the 30 countries with representative data on prevalence, at least 200 million living women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation.  While the rate of child marriage is declining, it stands today at approximately one in five young women who will be married before their 18th birthday. Women and girls account for 71% of human trafficking victims- three in four of them are trafficked for sexual exploitation. Less than 40% of the women who experience violence seek help. [1] Men experience violence too: 3% of American men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Roughly 2.78 million men in the United States have been victims of sexual assault or rape. [2] In the US, 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. [3] @UN_Women #16pearls #16Days #OrangeTheWorld #HearMeToo #GBV    

2111, 2018

Co-responsibility: Male Involvement in Antenatal Care in Zika Prevention

By: Tisa Barrios Wilson and Elga Salvador In many low and middle-income countries (LMICs), men are the primary providers and key decision-makers in the family, often determining women's access to economic resources and restricting women’s ability to make choices about their health and children’s health.1 Since many health systems require out-of-pocket payments, this practice can limit women's access to maternal health services and obstetric care, which are essential to Zika prevention and overall maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH).1 In addition, women’s decreased decision-making power may interfere with their ability to engage in safe prevention practices, such as wearing a condom to prevent Zika and other STIs, and in important activities critical to child development, such as adequate maternal nutrition during pregnancy, breastfeeding practices, and caring for a sick or disabled child.2 Engaging men during pregnancy through antenatal care (ANC) visits is a critical entry-point for Zika prevention, to improve MNCH, and to address couples’ decision-making dynamics.3 Men’s greater involvement can also open opportunities to improve men’s own sexual and reproductive health, disrupt intergenerational cycles of violence, and promote men’s roles as advocates for MNCH.3 ANC visits increase men's knowledge about the importance of maternal, postnatal, and child health services which can make them more invested in the health of their partners and children.4,5 This knowledge can translate into the provision of resources for accessing maternal services such as transportation to the hospital for delivery and payment of user fees, but also as long-term investments such as early father involvement in the infant’s life which is beneficial for child development.6 Several studies in LMICs report positive benefits of male involvement in ANC visits, including: increased maternal access to antenatal and postnatal services, use of a skilled birth attendant, discouragement of unhealthy maternal practices such as smoking and alcohol consumption, improved maternal mental health, reduced postpartum depression, improved maternal nutritional status, reduction of stress, pain, and anxiety during delivery, and higher rates of breastfeeding and in general has a long-lasting, positive impacts in the development of children  .1,3,5,7 All of these practices are crucial to reduce overall maternal and infant mortality. Some studies have also shown that increased paternal investment in the pregnancy is correlated with increased infant attachment and bonding with their child which is beneficial for child development.6,8,9 Male participation in ANC visits can also provide opportunities for providers to counsel pregnant couples and has been shown to increase likelihood of contraception usage, uptake of HIV testing, and adoption of preventive interventions for vertical and sexual transmissions of HIV.  Since Zika is also sexually transmitted, ANC visits are a key window of opportunity to counsel pregnant couples to promote condom usage.2 Finally, several studies have reported that male presence at ANC visits are correlated with an improvement in couple communication, an increase in joint decision-making, and an impact in identifying and reducing gender-based violence.1,10 While the benefits are well documented, it is also important to understand that male involvement in ANC does not work for every situation. In relationships [...]

111, 2018

Job Opportunity at WI-HER

Gender Advisor JD-Neglected Tropical Diseases_WI-HER Position: Full-time Location: Washington, DC Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience Company Description WI-HER, LLC (Women Influencing Health, Education, and Rule of Law) is an international consulting firm that identifies and implements creative solutions to complex health and social challenges to achieve better, healthier lives for women, men, girls and boys. We employ an integrated, multisectoral approach that links multiple sectors to improve health outcomes and achieve sustained development. WI-HER, LLC is a woman-owned small business based in Vienna, VA. Roles and Responsibilities WI-HER is seeking a Gender Advisor to support gender integration and social inclusion efforts on the USAID Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (CEP-NTD) program. The 5-year program will support efforts in: Bangladesh, DRC, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Laos, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam. The Gender Advisor will be responsible for supporting the Project Director in ensuring gender and social inclusion concerns are integrated throughout project design and implementation of the project. Principal tasks and responsibilities will include, at a minimum, the following: Conduct trainings, program oversight, and assessments in the field, where appropriate Serve as primary point of contact (POC) for gender and social inclusion for all country and headquarters technical teams Analyze gender-related findings and outcomes of CEP-NTD activities regularly and provide feedback and updates to technical teams, including identification and mitigation of factors which may hinder the work from reaching desired outcomes Assist in writing and editing annual deliverables (e.g., work plans, annual reports) based on inputs from HQ Oversee the development of and be responsible for gender analyses and the development gender action plans in all countries, as necessary Provide technical support to country-level and headquarters staff to integrate gender and social inclusion into their work Develop gender integration trainings, presentations, tools and job aids to assist country teams with program implementation Assist with developing gender-sensitive indicators and analyze gender-related findings and outcomes of project activities regularly, and provide feedback and updates to project staff, including identification and mitigation of factors which may hinder program from reaching desired outcomes Develop reports, blogs, and case studies on gender integration to be shared on website and/or published as technical reports, briefs, or flyers Represent WI-HER at meetings, forums, and public presentations, as appropriate The position is based in Washington, DC and will require international travel. Qualifications Advanced degree (Master’s or equivalent degree) in international public health, gender, international development, or related degree Ten years of progressive professional experience working in international health and development projects Minimum 5 years of experience in gender research and programming; experience in health specifically neglected tropical diseases preferred Experience conducting gender analyses/assessment required Experience in advising, training, and mentoring of gender integration efforts Sound experience in program design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation Experience with data collection, management, analysis, and report production Capacity to collaborate with partners at multiple levels, including senior government officials, donors, NGOs (local and international), representatives of civil society, and other partners Proficient in English, spoken and strong writing [...]

2310, 2018

October is Breast Awareness Month!

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women across the world and it is a critical global issue. Incidence rates are shifting, and of the estimated 1.7 million women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, most will be in the developing world. Approximately 60% of deaths due to breast cancer occur in developing countries (DCs) , whereas in the United States (US), an estimated 249,260 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year, and mortality due to this disease is decreasing. These statistics demonstrate that although the burden of breast cancer mortality is disproportionately high in developing countries, the issue is given far less attention and resources than in the developed world, where breast cancer is a very popular women’s health cause.  In fact, breast cancer is given so much attention in the developed world that some worry we have over-commodified the cause, citing the pink handbags, envelopes, and candles that flood the market every October.   […]

102, 2018

Yemen’s Local Green Revolution: Empowerment of Women and Youth

By Hania Bekdash, Graduate Research Intern, and Erin Taylor, Program Officer, WI-HER, LLC For anyone familiar with Yemen and its history, “resilient” is a common term used to describe its locals, particularly women, who have experienced a long string of conflicts in recent decades. Already the poorest country in the region, Yemenis were no stranger to electricity shortages even before 2015. Still, poverty rates nearly doubled from 2014 to 2016, making purchasing fuel for typical generators increasingly difficult as many parts of the country have no government-provided electricity whatsoever. With food, water, cooking gas, and fuel exceedingly limited since the start of the Arab Coalition bombardments in 2015, many issues that more directly impact women are exacerbated by the near total destruction of the state’s electricity grids. […]

612, 2017

Gender and Zika – Part I: Gender-Based Violence

By: Erin Taylor, Program Officer While the Zika virus is today known for its prevalence in Latin America, it was actually identified in and named after a forest in Uganda in 1947. The virus is mostly spread by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito although it can be spread from mother to child during pregnancy, through sexual intercourse, blood transfusions, or through exposure in a laboratory or healthcare setting. There is currently no vaccine and as of August 2017, 48 countries in the Americas have confirmed cases of the virus. Of those infected, it appears that the majority have been women. A 2015-2016 CDC study in Puerto Rico showed that “among all cases of Zika virus disease in nonpregnant persons, 61% were in females; in all age groups females accounted for the majority of cases.” This study observed similar findings in Brazil and El Salvador. This begs the question – why are women and girls more susceptible to Zika than men and boys? […]

1210, 2017

Invisible to policy: where are female youth among refugees in Kampala?

By Katie Krueger Uganda has one of the most progressive policies on refugees in Africa, and even in the world: refugees are settled in communities, as opposed to camps, where they are provided with plots of land to cultivate, and encouraged to sell surplus produce in local markets, which are supported with aid money. This approach benefits both refugees and local residents in and around those communities. The Guardian once even asked if Uganda was the best place in the world to be a refugee, highlighting the nation’s efforts to provide better economic and social opportunities for those fleeing conflict and hardship in neighboring countries. These progressive policies, however, do not necessarily extend to refugees who have chosen to leave these specifically designated communities – or bypassed them entirely – to live in urban centers instead. Exact numbers are hard to determine, but 12% or more of the 1.8 million residents of Kampala are refugees; over 200,000 refugees live in the city, particularly in the slums of Kisenyi, Katwe, Makindye, and Masajja. (Most of them come from Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); an increasing number of recent arrivals are South Sudanese.) […]

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