An assessment of attitudes toward gender inequitable sexual and reproductive health norms in South Sudan: a community-based participatory research approach
Modest, Anna Merport
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CitationScott, Jennifer, Sarah Averbach, Anna Merport Modest, Michele Hacker, Sarah Cornish, Danielle Spencer, Maureen Murphy, and Parveen Parmar. 2013. “An assessment of attitudes toward gender inequitable sexual and reproductive health norms in South Sudan: a community-based participatory research approach.” Conflict and Health 7 (1): 24. doi:10.1186/1752-1505-7-24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1752-1505-7-24.
AbstractBackground: Communities in South Sudan have endured decades of conflict. Protracted conflict exacerbated reproductive health disparities and gender inequities. This study, conducted prior to the country’s 2011 independence, aimed to assess attitudes toward gender inequitable norms related to sexual relationships and reproductive health and the effects of sex, age, and education on these attitudes. Methods: Applying a community-based participatory research approach and quota sampling, 680 adult male and female respondents were interviewed in seven sites within South Sudan in 2009–2011. The verbally administered survey assessed attitudes using the Gender Equitable Men scale. Data were stratified by sex, age (≤35 years and >35 years), and education. Results: Of 680 respondents, 352 were female, 326 were male, and 2 did not indicate their sex. The majority of women (77%) and men (74%) agreed “a man needs other women, even if things with his wife are fine”. Respondents who reported no education (60%) were more likely than those who reported any education (45%) to agree “if a woman is married, she should have sex with her husband whenever he wants to, even if she doesn’t want to” (p = 0.002). The majority of women (74%) and men (73%) agreed “it is a woman’s responsibility to avoid getting pregnant”. Respondents who reported no education (81%) were more likely than those who reported any education (72%) to agree with this statement (p = 0.04). When asked about condom use, the majority of respondents, across both sexes and both age groups, agreed “it would be outrageous for a wife to ask her husband to use a condom” and “women who carry condoms are easy”. There were no statistically significant differences between the two age groups for any of the assessed gender inequitable norms. Conclusion: The study reveals differences in attitudes toward gender inequitable sexual and reproductive health norms among those surveyed in South Sudan when stratified by sex and education. As a new nation seeks to strengthen its health system, these data can inform sexual and reproductive health policies and programming in South Sudan.
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