This discussion looked at the challenges of addressing gender in HIV and AIDS programming, and the need to look at power relations and work with a wide range of stakeholders for sustainable change.
Imran Rizvi of KZR Associates, Pakistan, introduced the session with some reflection on gender and HIV work he had been involved in since 1993 in Pakistan, where DFID in particular had been from an early stage (such as a 3-year project called Silent Fears for example, working with Lahore-based sex workers). Imran was encouraged to see that the new DfID Strategy paper does address issues of gender, but he noted that not all country governments strategies address gender
What is gender? Why gender and why communication?
Even today it is difficult to put into practice gender as a cross-cutting issue since it is something that has impact and needs to be incorporated at every level, including policies and budgets developed by the international agencies such as UNAIDS.
Gender means much more than male/female – it means the dynamic between different groups: Which men, which boys, which women and which girls and why? Notions of masculinity are currently getting more attention, and a lot of the work taking place is focusing on how to engage men and boys in addressing sexual violence and HIV communication. Focusing on men and boys as part of developing a communication strategy on gender and HIV is essential.