To benefit both women and men, reproductive health programmes should be based on a better understanding of gender dynamics, the changing needs of individuals throughout their lives and their decision-making processes. While the female side of gender has been largely explored and documented, there are shortcomings in understanding gender from the male perspective, which this paper explores.
This paper analyses the social structure and the gender system throughout the different stages of the life-cycle from infancy and childhood to adolescence and adulthood. It also examines the implications for key information needs and reproductive health programmes, including advocacy and information, education and communication (IEC) strategies. It concludes with some suggestions for incorporating male involvement in reproductive health within UNFPA-supported programmes and activities.