What are the key issues around involving men in reproductive health? This paper reviews a variety of existing global data on men’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs, attitudes and practices and identifies current gaps in this body of knowledge. The authors also highlight policy work that support and institutionalise male involvement in reproductive health, as well as programs that involve men in reproductive health, emphasising the evolution of such programming and policy, as well as best practices and success stories. The conceptual framework of engaging men as clients, partners, and agents of change is offered as a tool to develop, monitor and evaluate male involvement efforts. The limitations and benefits of each component of this model in relation to the promotion of men’s reproductive health are extensively discussed.
Using a variety of practical examples, the authors argue that the framework should be implemented collaboratively to ensure that men not only learn to take responsibility for their own and their partners’ SRH, but to do so in ways that are not detrimental to the health and well-being of women and girls. In order to effectively conceptualise and implement this model, the authors argue that understandings of complexities around male involvement in reproductive health, and how to effectively address gender norms, needs to be clarified. Overall, the authors use the review to support their argument that men’s roles in SRH must be recognised and addressed more extensively than they have been, and that programmatic and policy efforts must acknowledge the social, economic relationships and gender norms that influence men’s SRH.