Intended for healthcare professionals


Engaging men and boys in sexual and reproductive health and rights

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 10 May 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q1042
  1. Maria Lohan, Unesco chair in masculinities and gender equality1 2,
  2. Avni Amin, head of rights, equality and wellbeing3,
  3. Magaly Marques, senior adviser4,
  4. Mark Tomlinson, co-director51
  1. 1School of Nursing and Midwifery University, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  2. 2Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan
  3. 3Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  4. 4MenEngage Global Alliance, Washington DC, USA
  5. 5Institute for Life Course Health Research, Department of Global Health, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to: M Lohan m.lohan{at}

Men and boys are critical to meaningful progress in gender equality

Two of the UN’s sustainable development goals (on good health and wellbeing and on gender equality) emphasise improving sexual and reproductive health and rights.1 Given the centrality of unequal gender and power relations to this issue, we need to work with men and boys, alongside women and girls, to make meaningful progress.23456

For example, when services deliver women’s family planning advice by mobile phone in countries where men often control women’s use of mobile phones as well as their birth spacing choices, we must ensure that male partners understand the importance of respecting women’s bodily autonomy and supporting their choices.78 And we cannot teach sex education in schools without adequately challenging boys about their norms, beliefs, and behaviours with respect to sexual consent and safe sex, given that boys are an important part of the solution for issues such as gender based sexual violence, teenage pregnancy, and sexually …

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