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How Do We Reach the Girls and Women Who Are the Hardest to Reach? Inequitable Opportunities in Reproductive and Maternal Health Care Services in Armed Conflict and Forced Displacement Settings in Colombia


Rivillas, Juan Carlos, Raul Devia Rodriguez, Gloria Song, and Andréanne Martel. 2018. "How Do We Reach the Girls and Women Who Are the Hardest to Reach? Inequitable Opportunities in Reproductive and Maternal Health Care Services in Armed Conflict and Forced Displacement Settings in Colombia." PLoS ONE 13 (1): 1-14. 

Authors: Juan Carlos Rivillas, Raul Devia Rodriguez, Gloria Song, Andréanne Martel



This paper assesses inequalities in access to reproductive and maternal health services among females affected by forced displacement and sexual and gender-based violence in conflict settings in Colombia. This was accomplished through the following approaches: first, we assessed the gaps and gradients in three selected reproductive and maternal health care services. Second, we analyzed the patterns of inequalities in reproductive and maternal health care services and changes over time. And finally, we identified challenges and strategies for reaching girls and women who are the hardest to reach in conflict settings, in order to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage and to contribute to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of good health and well-being and gender equality by 2030.


Three types of data were required: data about health outcomes (relating to rates of females affected by conflict), information about reproductive and maternal health care services to provide a social dimension to unmask inequalities (unmet needs in family planning, antenatal care and skilled births attendance); and data on the female population. Data sources used include the National Information System for Social Protection, the National Registry of Victims, the National Administrative Department of Statistics, and Demographic Health Survey at three specific time points: 2005, 2010 and 2015. We estimated the slope index of inequality to express absolute inequality (gaps) and the concentration index to expresses relative inequality (gradients), and to understand whether inequality was eliminated over time.


Our findings show that even though absolute health care service-related inequalities dropped over time, relative inequalities worsened or remain unchanged. All summary measures still indicated the existence of inequalities as well as common patterns. Our findings suggest that there is a pattern of marginal exclusion and incremental patterns of inequality in the reproductive and maternal health care service provided to female affected by armed conflict.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Domestic Violence, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Reproductive Health, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2018

Resilience, Female Altruism, and Bodily Autonomy: Disaster-Induced Displacement in Post-Haiyan Philippines


Tanyag, Maria. 2018. "Resilience, Female Altruism, and Bodily Autonomy: Disaster-Induced Displacement in Post-Haiyan Philippines." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 43 (3): 563-85.

Author: Maria Tanyag


Natural disasters are increasingly causing displacements globally, and such negative impacts of climate change are expected to increase exponentially. Women and girls in particular distinctly endure long-term or gradual harms while in displacement, such as heightened risks of sexual and gender-based violence, including exposure to sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality, and forced or unwanted pregnancies. This article examines the Philippines as a case study to unveil the growing gendered security threats embodied by disaster-induced displacements. In the aftermath of the disaster caused by supertyphoon Haiyan, which struck in November 2013, the mantra of developing a “disaster-resilient nation” has gained currency among national and international actors in the country. Building on critical feminist political economy analysis, this article argues that the Haiyan postdisaster relief and reconstruction efforts constitute gendered processes that intimately rely on and mobilize women’s unremunerated social reproductive labor, particularly through their role as primary caregivers. Data for this research is drawn from twenty-six interviews with key informants and from secondary sources such as official reports of governmental, nongovernmental, and international humanitarian organizations. The findings underscore the importance of deploying a feminist lens to critique the material and discursive power of “resilience” through which norms of female altruism are harnessed at household and community levels while postdisaster responsibilities are increasingly diverted away from the state. In so doing, resilience discourses may serve to reinforce the structural roots of gendered vulnerability, including political, cultural, and economic barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services and supplies—thereby undermining bodily autonomy.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women, Girls, Health, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Philippines

Year: 2018

Women and Nuclear Energy: Examining the Gender Divide in Opposition to Nuclear Power Among Swedish Citizens and Politicians


Sundström, Aksel, and Aaron M. McCright. 2016. “Women and Nuclear Energy: Examining the Gender Divide in Opposition to Nuclear Power Among Swedish Citizens and Politicians.” Energy Research & Social Science 11 (January): 29–39.

Authors: Aksel Sundström, Aaron M. McCright


Whether or not there will be a ‘renaissance’ of nuclear power in the near future may depend upon the nature of support for this energy source among citizens and elected officials. Continued examination of the predictors of opposition to nuclear power therefore remains quite policy relevant. While the existing literature finds modest but consistent gender differences in attitudes towards nuclear power in the general publics of several Western countries, the robustness of this relationship has seldom been investigated across time or among elected officials. This paper addresses both of these gaps. First, analyzing nationally representative data from the Swedish general public between 1986 and 2011, we confirm that the theoretically expected gender divide in opposition to nuclear power-whereby women report greater opposition than do men-is indeed robust over time. Second, examining data from three recent surveys of elected officials at the local, regional, and national levels in Sweden, we find that female elected officials at each polity level report greater opposition to nuclear power than their male counterparts. Our results are consistent with the health and safety concerns argument, whereby women are less supportive than are men of technologies with considerable perceived health and safety risks.

Keywords: nuclear power, gender, public opinion, politicians

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Health, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2016

Gender Issues of Biomass Production and Use in Africa


Farioli, Francesca, and Touria Dafrallah. 2012. “Gender Issues of Biomass Production and Use in Africa.” In Bioenergy for Sustainable Development in Africa, edited by Rainer Janssen and Dominik Rutz, 345–61. Dordrecht: Springer.

Authors: Francesca Farioli, Touria Dafrallah


Energy is a basic necessity for survival and a key input to economic and social development. In Sub-Saharan Africa access to modern energy remains very low and the energy situation is still heavily dependent on traditional biomass that accounts for 80–90% of the countries energy balances. Lack of energy services is correlated with many elements of poverty, such a low education levels, inadequate health care, and limited employment and income generation possibilities. The energy-poverty nexus has distinct gender characteristics. Of the approximately 1–3 billion people living in poverty, it is estimated that 70% are women, many of who live in female–headed households in rural areas. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women have challenging roles on the energy scene as they are in charge of supplying their households with energy amongst other subsistence activities. This chapter looks into the impacts of biomass production and use on women health and livelihood. Literature and research studies by institutions involved in bioenergy and indoor air pollution are considered (World Health Organization, Partnership for Clean Indoor Air, Energia Network, COMPETE, etc.). Current energy policies in Africa seem to ignore the gender dimension of energy, although providing rural women with an affordable, reliable and clean energy source is a priority to effectively alleviate poverty. For any energy policy aiming at poverty reduction it is absolutely crucial not to neglect the fact that men and women have different energy needs due to their traditionally different roles and responsibilities within the households, and due to the unbalanced access to resources and decision-making. Nevertheless, the gender dimension of energy often remains invisible to most policy-makers. In many African countries biofuels production has recently gained significant interest. Private companies are investing in biofuels opportunities, as Africa seems to offer a good environment (available land, cheap labour and favorable climate). Unfortunately, policy and regulatory frameworks are not established to monitor the emerging private initiatives on biofuels that seem to focus on exports. This might worsen gender issues as women are economically and socially vulnerable and might be the main group to get marginalized. This chapter identifies relevant policy options related to social aspects of biomass production and use, as well as a set of recommendations how to engender biofuels policies.

Keywords: energy poverty, MDGs, bioenergy, health, livelihood, gender mainstreaming, engendering energy policies, land access, food security, income generation, policy recommendations

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Education, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Health, Households, Infrastructure, Energy, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa

Year: 2012

Impacts of Renewable Energy on Gender in Rural Communities of North-West China


Ding, Wenguang, Lijun Wang, Baoyu Chen, Luan Xu, and Haoxu Li. 2014. “Impacts of Renewable Energy on Gender in Rural Communities of North-West China.” Renewable Energy 69: 180–9.

Authors: Wenguang Ding, Lijun Wang, Baoyu Chen, Luan Xu, Haoxu Li


This investigation compares the traditional energy structure with improved energy structures, and evaluates the impact of renewable energy on gender relations in rural communities in north-west China. The traditional energy consumption structure in rural communities in north-west China was based on biomass and coal. However, the improved energy consumption structures consist of renewable energy based on solar energy cookers, biogas digesters and energy saving stoves. Compared with traditional biomass-based energy consumption, renewable energy could significantly improve energy use efficiency and alter women's labour intensity, health status, living standards and even men's share of some cooking tasks. The field investigation data revealed that: women are free from having to collect firewood after integration use of renewable energy including biogas digesters, energy saving biomass stoves and solar energy cookers; the frequency of firewood collection, firewood collection quantity, time spent in firewood collection and human energy consumption of women have greatly decreased when traditional energy consumption structures are improved; using biogas can daily save 50% of cooking time for women; 91% of women use surplus funds from energy saving to buy clothes and cosmetics products; 3.1% of them enjoy travelling; and also use of clean energy devices can further reduce the risk of women exposed to indoor smoke pollution, and hence prevent women from possibly getting respiratory diseases. Therefore, it can be concluded that: gender is an important aspect of energy, which has previously been ignored by many researchers; gender does matter in the area of access to, ways of use, opportunities and control over energy; energy and women are linked in many diverse ways; technology change can drive cultural change; appropriate policies are needed to encourage technology up-take.

Keywords: energy structure, renewable energy, gender, rural community, China

Topics: Environment, Gender, Health, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: China

Year: 2014

Energy for Women and Women for Energy (Engendering Energy and Empowering Women)


Batliwala, Srilatha, and Amulya K. N. Reddy. 2003. “Energy for Women and Women for Energy (Engendering Energy and Empowering Women).” Energy for Sustainable Development 7 (3): 33–43.

Authors: Srilatha Batliwala, Amulya K. N. Reddy


The women-energy nexus involves the challenge of engendering energy and the  challenge of empowering women through energy. The first challenge arises from the gender disaggregation of energy consumption patterns. A quantitative account of the  share of women in these patterns is presented through a description of the rural energy  consumption pattern of the village of Pura in South India. The results indicate that  women work more hours than men. Women also perform the back-breaking tasks and  are displaced by agricultural mechanisation. The energy output-input imbalance is  aggravated by the fact that, in developing countries, women traditionally eat last and  least in a family—women therefore take in less food energy than men. The gender  distribution of labour results in negative health impacts. The scarcity of energy services in rural areas has serious social and gender impacts. Tackling them requires energy  interventions to improve the quality of life for women. Examples of such energy  interventions are the community biogas plant at the village of Pura and the multi- purpose platforms of the Mali project.

Since technological opportunities exist for such energy interventions, attention is turned to the second challenge of empowering women through energy entrepreneurship. This requires a change of mind-set on the part of energy planners and activists -- they must promote the notion of women as managers and entrepreneurs, and not just beneficiaries, of improved energy services. The idea is to push the following sequence: women as deprived in energy consumption patterns → women as beneficiaries of energy interventions → women as managers of enterprises → women as energy entrepreneurs. This is nothing short of a paradigm shift—but once achieved and implemented, the results will speak for themselves. Such an approach will engender energy by converting it into a force for improving the quality of life as well as enhancing productive capacities—a virtuous circle of energy for women and women for energy. (Summary from original source)

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2003

Women and Cooking Energy


Batliwala, Srilatha. 1983. “Women and Cooking Energy.” Economic and Political Weekly 18 (52/53): 2227–30.

Author: Srilatha Batliwala


This paper discusses the impact of the cooking energy system on women. A woman in poverty has low access to cooking fuel, spends the longest time obtaining it, and puts it to use in stoves which are not only fuel-inefficient, but which also subject her to serious or fatal disease. Cooking energy also increasingly determines a woman's nutrition level, and that of her family. 

It is, therefore, essential that all innovations in the cooking energy system be undertaken only in continuous interaction with the women whose lives they will most affect. This interaction must be initiated at the idea/conceptual stage, and not when the prototype is ready for testing.

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Health, Infrastructure, Energy

Year: 1983

Laila at the Bridge

"Laila Haidari survived child marriage and her own traumatic past to battle one of the deadliest problems in Afghanistan: heroin addiction.  As the “mother of the addicts,” she must prevail over a crisis of addiction and a corrupt government in a country on the verge of collapse.

Real Men Don’t Eat (Vegetable) Quiche: Masculinity and the Justification of Meat Consumption


Rothgerber, Hank. 2013. “Real Men Don’t Eat (Vegetable) Quiche: Masculinity and the Justification of Meat Consumption.” Psychology of Men & Masculinity 14 (4): 363–75. 

Author: Hank Rothgerber


As arguments become more pronounced that meat consumption harms the environment, public health, and animals, meat eaters should experience increased pressure to justify their behavior. Results of a first study showed that male undergraduates used direct strategies to justify eating meat, including endorsing pro-meat attitudes, denying animal suffering, believing that animals are lower in a hierarchy than humans and that it is human fate to eat animals, and providing religious and health justifications for eating animals. Female undergraduates used the more indirect strategies of dissociating animals from food and avoiding thinking about the treatment of animals. A second study found that the use of these male strategies was related to masculinity. In the two studies, male justification strategies were correlated with greater meat consumption, whereas endorsement of female justification strategies was correlated with less meat and more vegetarian consumption. These findings are among the first to empirically verify Adams’s (1990) theory on the sexual politics of meat linking feminism and vegetarianism. They suggest that to simply make an informational appeal about the benefits of a vegetarian diet may ignore a primary reason why men eat meat: It makes them feel like real men. 

Keywords: vegetarianism, meat eating, masculinity, meat justification

Topics: Environment, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Health, Religion

Year: 2013

Rural Male Suicide in Australia


Alston, Margaret. 2012. “Rural Male Suicide in Australia.” Social Science & Medicine 74 (4): 515-22.

Author: Margaret Alston


The rate of suicide amongst Australia’s rural men is significantly higher than rural women, urban men or urban women. There are many explanations for this phenomenon including higher levels of social isolation, lower socio-economic circumstances and ready access to firearms. Another factor is the challenge of climate transformation for farmers. In recent times rural areas of Australia have been subject to intense climate change events including a significant drought that has lingered on for over a decade. Climate variability together with lower socio-economic conditions and reduced farm production has combined to produce insidious impacts on the health of rural men. This paper draws on research conducted over several years with rural men working on farms to argue that attention to the health and well-being of rural men requires an understanding not only of these factors but also of the cultural context, inequitable gender relations and a dominant form of masculine hegemony that lauds stoicism in the face of adversity. A failure to address these factors will limit the success of health and welfare programs for rural men.

Keywords: Australia, suicide, men, rural, gender relations, masculinity, climate, farming

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Health, Mental Health Regions: Oceania Countries: Australia

Year: 2012


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