How can men be supported to overcome rigid gender norms that can be damaging to their own and their partners’ SRH? This article discusses the limitations of an instrumentalist approach to men’s involvement in SRH to solely benefit women’s health, and the problematic ways in which men’s sexual health and sexuality tends to be treated as homogenous and one-dimensional, which undermines men who are marginalised or themselves challenge gender roles. The authors draw attention to the fact that certain men have unequal access to sexual health and rights depending on other forms of marginalisation including race, class, and sexual orientation.
The authors review the documented impact of norms of masculinity on men’s SRH, the benefits of supporting men to overcome damaging and unequal gender norms, and international mandates on men and HIV. They recommend including men as agents in SRH efforts, that SRH policies and programs avoid negative male stereotypes, and how to use policy efforts to scale-up local and effective work with men and boys that addresses gender norms to a national and international level. The authors argue that advocacy efforts should use governments’ human rights initiatives to secure their commitments to promote SRH accountability and gender equality among men.