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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 February 2015

FHI 360, Washington DC, USA
APAES, Guatemala City
FHI 360, Washington DC, USA
1Corresponding author. Email:


In Guatemala, especially in rural areas, gender norms contribute to high fertility and closely spaced births by discouraging contraceptive use and constraining women from making decisions regarding the timing of their pregnancies and the size of their families. Community workshops for men, women and couples were conducted in 30 rural communities in Guatemala to test the hypothesis that the promotion of gender equity in the context of reproductive health will contribute to gender-equitable attitudes and strengthen the practice of family planning. Communities were randomly assigned to intervention and control groups. Pre/post surveys were conducted. Odds ratios estimated with mixed effect models to account for community-level randomization and repeated measures per participant were compared. The analyses showed statistically significant effects of the intervention on two of the three outcomes examined: gender attitudes and contraceptive knowledge. Findings regarding contraceptive use were suggestive but not significant. The results suggest that it is possible to influence both inequitable gender norms and reproductive health knowledge and, potentially, behaviours in a short span of time using appropriately designed communications interventions that engage communities in re-thinking the inequitable gender norms that act as barriers to health.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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