Health Care Management

MeasureGender: Measuring gender-based discrimination to better understand Maternal Mortality

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Target 3.1 of the SDGs demands a strong decrease in maternal mortality by 2030. Women who live in Sub-Saharan Africa are affected the most of maternal mortality. To reach this SDGs’ goal, it is important to identify and analyze reasons for different levels of maternal mortality across different regions and countries. Besides the well-known correlation with variables, such as age, poverty, education and access to medical facilities, experienced gender-based discrimination may potentially play an important role in explaining maternal mortality. To this effect, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health explicitly recognizes the need to tackle gender inequality operating at the broader societal level as a means of improving maternal health outcomes. Problematic in our opinion are the not sophisticated measurement methods for gender-based discrimination in existing surveys with health outcomes.

Therefore, MeasureGender aims to lay the foundations for future analyses of the relationship between gender-based discrimination and maternal health outcomes, including maternal mortality, by developing a culturally adapted and reliable tool for measuring gender-based discrimination. Part of the project is a qualitative field work in four Sub-Saharan African countries. More specific objectives include:

  1. To provide a systematic overview of existing definitions and measures of gender-based discrimination and their application in the health literature,
  2. to understand the views and framings of policy makers, civil society groups, health care implementers, and women in Sub-Saharan Africa about gender-based discrimination, and
  3. to identify relevant attributes and to develop a quantitative tool (e.g. a questionnaire) to allow a reliable and comprehensive measurement of gender-based discrimination in future health surveys.

MeasureGender is supported by the German Alliance for Global Health Research, funded by the BMBF. All activities will be performed in collaboration with our project partners from the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health and with support from several researchers and international organizations on-site in Sub-Saharan Africa.