Report: Addressing Gender And Women’s Empowerment in mHealth for MNCH

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Understanding the impact of gender inequity on women’s health in low- and middle-income countries, the mHealth Alliance released a Gender Analytical Framework to help mHealth implementers better understand the implications of gender issues for global mobile health projects. The framework is premised on the fact that addressing gender equity and women’s empowerment is critical to successfully achieving health goals and that issues related to gender equality and women’s empowerment are not yet fully understood in the context of mHealth.

Research shows that many women’s health problems in low-income countries, such as maternal mortality and unintended pregnancies, are directly linked to gender inequity. Furthermore, while the digital divide continues to shrink, women in low-income countries do not have equal participation in this technological advancement. A woman living in a low-income country is 21% less likely to own a cell phone than a man. While women are commonly the beneficiaries of mHealth projects, they are rarely equal participants in the development of these interventions.

“Having experienced first-hand the challenges associated with taking gender into account when designing mHealth programs, such as our toll-free maternal health hotline in Malawi, we were keenly aware of the need for global learning on this topic,” said Emily Bancroft, Program Director of VillageReach’s Health Systems Group. “The gender framework provides a concrete and powerful tool to help us analyze the implications of gender on our mHealth projects, and strengthen the design and implementation accordingly.”

mHealth Projects Have the Potential:

To reach women with lifesaving health information:

  • 84% of women want better health care-related information
  • 39% of women express an interest in receiving health information through their mobile phones

To empower women:

  • 9 out of 10 women who use mobile phones feel safer and more connected with family with friends
  • 85% of women who own mobile phones report feeling more independent because of their mobile phone
  • 41% of female mobile phone owners enjoy increased economic and professional opportunities due to owning a mobile

Addressing Gender And Women’s Empowerment in mHealth for MNCH

The framework builds on the mHealth Alliance’s vision of gender as key to accelerating progress toward goals related to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH). It offers mHealth implementers an outline through which to understand the nuances of gender issues, as well as gaps related to gender.

View the full framework: Addressing Gender and Women’s Empowerment in mHealth for MNCH: An Analytical Framework