Changing Inequitable Gender Norms among Young Women in India to Reduce Their Vulnerability to HIV and SRH Problems: A Pilot Intervention in Mumbai Slum Communities

Vaishali Sharma Mahendra, Population Council
Ravi K. Verma, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Ajay Kumar Singh, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Julie Pulerwitz, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)

This paper presents findings from a longitudinal study testing the intervention that stimulates critical thinking about gender norms that promote women’s vulnerability and to create support for norms that promote equity and empowerment. Pre- and post- intervention surveys were implemented with a cohort of 263 young women (16-28 years) to test the effectiveness of the intervention. A 21-item gender equity scale for women (GESW) was developed to measure young women’s attitudes (alpha = .90). At baseline, young women reported inequitable gender norms. Post-intervention, a significant (p<.05) proportion of young women shifted to the high gender equity category (26% at baseline vs. 70% at endline). After the intervention, significantly more young women reported communicating with their partners about safe sex (43% vs. 58%) as well as using condoms with their partners at last sex (15% vs. 50%). In addition, at endline, more women reported seeking treatment for STI symptoms (14% vs. 24%).

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Presented in Session 158: Gender and HIV Risk in Understudied Populations