Gender Equity and Girls’ Health

A special issue of Adolescents (ISSN 2673-7051). This special issue belongs to the section "Adolescent Health and Mental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2023) | Viewed by 58667

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
2. Center on Gender Equity and Health, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
Interests: gender-based violence; sexual and reproductive health; social and economic determinants of health

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center on Gender Equity and Health, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
Interests: social norms; sexual and reproductive health; scaling up evidence based practices and violence against children

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center on Gender Equity and Health, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0570, USA
Interests: gender and social norms; adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights; adolescent substance use; social network analysis; multilevel modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Adolescents focuses on the ways in which gender inequities affect health and well-being among female adolescents. Gender inequities arise from traditional gender norms that limit girls’ power in making life decisions, restrict girls’ opportunities and access to resources, and that even threaten girls’ safety and basic human rights. These gender inequities disfavor girls over boys and result in substantial economic, social, and health burdens among adolescent girls. Worldwide, in their lifetime, girls receive fewer opportunities than males for education, employment, and political leadership. Girls are also often deprived of their freedom of choice. For example, many girls have limited control over decisions related to marriage, sex, family planning, and their own health care due to traditional gender norms that unfairly place such decisions in the hands of girls’ families or male partners. Additionally, substantial proportions of girls experience physical or sexual partner violence or non-partner rape. Other forms of gender-based violence include child marriage, honor killings, and sex trafficking. As a result of these gender-based deprivations of opportunity and freedom of choice, girls experience a number of poor health outcomes, including malnutrition, mental health concerns, infectious diseases (e.g., HIV, other sexually transmitted infections), chronic health issues (e.g., cancers, asthma), and unplanned pregnancy. Efforts are needed to better address the gender inequities affecting girls’ lives. Supporting human potential, progress, and health will require a future where the world invests fully in girls.

Papers that focus on the gender inequities experienced by cisgender or transgender populations of girls are welcomed, and those that provide new approaches for alleviating health disparities resulting from gender inequity will be prioritized. Original research, brief reports, methodological papers, systematic reviews, and commentaries will be accepted.

Submission Instructions: The submission and review process will involve several steps:

  1. 31 October 2022: Authors should submit a 300-word abstract with a working title and a list of authors to . Authors will be informed if their abstract has been selected for submission as a full manuscript by 1 December 2022.
  2.  31 January 2023: Selected authors should submit their full manuscript to the journal’s online portal. All selected submissions will undergo peer review by 2–3 reviewers and must adhere to MDPI guidelines and policies. 

Dr. Elizabeth Reed
Dr. Rebecka Lundgren
Dr. Kathryn M. Barker
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Adolescents is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • gender equity
  • adolescent health
  • health disparities
  • gender social norms
  • gender-based violence (including child marriage, partner violence, and sexual assault and harassment)
  • gender transformative approaches

Published Papers (17 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Other

17 pages, 283 KiB  
Article
Sexuality and Mental Health of Pakistani-Descent Adolescent Girls living in Canada: Perceptions and Recommendations
by Neelam Saleem Punjani, Elizabeth Papathanassoglou, Kathy Hegadoren, Saima Hirani, Zubia Mumtaz and Margot Jackson
Adolescents 2023, 3(3), 564-580; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3030040 - 04 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1896
Abstract
In Canada, the demands of female immigrant adolescents in terms of sexual health are largely unmet and have grown significantly in recent years. According to studies, racialized immigrant adolescents are less likely than non-immigrant adolescents to be knowledgeable about sexual and reproductive health [...] Read more.
In Canada, the demands of female immigrant adolescents in terms of sexual health are largely unmet and have grown significantly in recent years. According to studies, racialized immigrant adolescents are less likely than non-immigrant adolescents to be knowledgeable about sexual and reproductive health and to use resources for sex education and related services. This difference seems to be related to socio-cultural and religious practices in Pakistani immigrant adolescents. This paper intends to explain the viewpoints of female adolescents of first- or second-generation Pakistani descent who reside in Canada with regard to their development of sexuality and psychological well-being. Moreover, this paper also describes how female adolescents perceive the necessity to support their sexuality as they go through the adolescent stage. Individual interviews and timelines were created using qualitative interpretative descriptive design. We included 21 female adolescents of first- or second-generation Pakistani ethnicity using a purposive sample. Data analysis was performed using a thematic analysis. The findings indicate that immigrant adolescent girls received conflicting messages about sexuality from their parents which impacted their psychological well-being. Additionally, survey participants noted that prejudice, exclusion from sex education classes, and a lack of sexual health information contributed to social isolation, health care avoidance, and poor mental health outcomes like melancholy and anxiety among adolescent girls. The absence of sexuality-related communication with parents and the scarcity of medical professionals who can relate to and address the needs and realities of immigrants may have an impact on the participants’ experiences. Female immigrant girls also spoke up on the need for open, honest, and stigma-free conversations as well as for the need to end the taboo around the subject of sexuality. This study used principles from both intersectionality and postmodern feminist theories to increase our understanding of the interplay between the experiences of developing sexuality and overall well-being in female immigrant adolescents of Pakistani descent. It is crucial to involve, listen to, and incorporate female adolescents’ voices when planning and implementing interventions to support healthy sexuality among immigrant adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
18 pages, 313 KiB  
Article
The Right to Leave: Dissolution of Child, Early, and Forced Marriages and Unions
by Chelsea L. Ricker, Seth Earn, Madhumita Das and Margaret E. Greene
Adolescents 2023, 3(3), 490-507; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3030035 - 09 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1819
Abstract
Global interest in child, early, and forced marriage and unions (CEFMU) is reflected in a large and growing body of research and interventions. Those interventions have focused on raising the minimum age of marriage, establishing laws and penalties for those who ignore these [...] Read more.
Global interest in child, early, and forced marriage and unions (CEFMU) is reflected in a large and growing body of research and interventions. Those interventions have focused on raising the minimum age of marriage, establishing laws and penalties for those who ignore these minimums, investing more heavily in girls’ education, addressing structural inequalities, and bringing about gender and social norm change. Missing has been any discussion of the right to leave marriage. As we learn more about the forces that drive child marriages and unions and what works to prevent them, rare is any mention of how these marriages sometimes end and what happens when they do. Human rights standards focus on the ability to choose “if, when, and whom to marry”. We posit that without the ability to decide if and when to leave marriage, marriage cannot be considered a choice. This paper explores why the right to leave marriage matters so deeply, describes the obstacles to girls’ access to divorce and to protections after divorce or separation, and links these to the factors that drive child, early, and forced marriages and unions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
10 pages, 253 KiB  
Article
Menstrual Symptoms: Insights from Mobile Menstrual Tracking Applications for English and Chinese Teenagers
by Sisi Peng, Yuyin Yang and Martie G. Haselton
Adolescents 2023, 3(3), 394-403; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3030027 - 28 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1046
Abstract
Mobile software applications (apps) have transformed how individuals oversee and maintain their own health. One way that girls can monitor their menstrual cycles is through the increasingly widespread use of mobile menstrual tracking apps. This study aimed to examine menstrual symptom tracking for [...] Read more.
Mobile software applications (apps) have transformed how individuals oversee and maintain their own health. One way that girls can monitor their menstrual cycles is through the increasingly widespread use of mobile menstrual tracking apps. This study aimed to examine menstrual symptom tracking for adolescents in English and Chinese apps, exploring menstrual literacy, cross-cultural differences, and framing, or presentation, of symptoms. The mixed-methods content analysis involved 15 popular free menstrual tracking apps in English (n = 8) and Chinese (n = 7), sampled from December 2022 to January 2023. A quantitative analysis of qualitative data was conducted through manual coding of content and automatically analyzing sentiment, or emotional tone, using a computational approach. We found that (1) menstrual literacy on symptom management or treatment was generally insufficient, (2) there were more available emotional than physical symptoms in English than Chinese apps, and (3) symptoms were framed more negatively than positively somewhat more in Chinese than English apps. Our findings emphasize the urgency to provide better evidence-informed communication about symptoms, either presented more positively or neutrally, in menstrual tracking apps for adolescent users. Since adolescence is a critical developmental stage that requires ample support, we recommend that digital menstrual trackers be crucially improved and future research should investigate how they can uniquely shape attitudes and experiences, and subsequent sexual and reproductive health empowerment and bodily autonomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
12 pages, 253 KiB  
Article
Determinants of Contraceptive Use among Unmarried Young Women in Kakamega County, Kenya
by Elizabeth Arlotti-Parish, Carolyne Ajema, Lilian Mutea and Susan Ontiri
Adolescents 2023, 3(3), 382-393; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3030026 - 27 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1938
Abstract
Adolescent pregnancies adversely impact mental and reproductive health as well as educational and socio-economic outcomes. In Kakamega County, Kenya, 20% of adolescents begin childbearing by age 19. To inform interventions to reduce adolescent pregnancy, Jhpiego used the Barrier Analysis methodology, which is based [...] Read more.
Adolescent pregnancies adversely impact mental and reproductive health as well as educational and socio-economic outcomes. In Kakamega County, Kenya, 20% of adolescents begin childbearing by age 19. To inform interventions to reduce adolescent pregnancy, Jhpiego used the Barrier Analysis methodology, which is based on the Doer/Non-Doer study model, in which participants are categorized according to whether they are “Doers” or “Non-Doers” of the study behavior. This study examines the determinants of the behavior, “young unmarried women currently use modern contraceptive methods”. Participants included young women aged 15–19 who were sexually active, unmarried, and were using (“Doers”) or not using (“Non-Doers”) modern contraception. The findings reveal that the majority of Doers (88%) and Non-Doers (80%) understand the pregnancy risk associated with non-use, and there is no statistically significant difference between Doers’ and Non-Doers’ understanding of contraceptive benefits. Knowledge of side effects and misconceptions, such as the belief that contraception causes infertility, does not deter Doers from using contraception. Seventy percent of Doers note that contraception is accessible/available, while 39% of Non-Doers state the opposite. Doers are almost three times more likely than Non-Doers to say that most people approve of their contraceptive use, while Non-Doers are twice as likely as Doers to say that most people would not approve. Doers are four times more likely to indicate approval from their mothers and boyfriends. Non-Doers are five times more likely than Doers to have specific professional goals for the future. These findings illustrate the importance of moving away from fear-based messaging and instead highlighting social acceptability and contraception’s role in achieving future goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
23 pages, 365 KiB  
Article
The Role of Gender Norms in Shaping Adolescent Girls’ and Young Women’s Experiences of Pregnancy and Abortion in Mozambique
by Sally Griffin, Málica de Melo, Joelma Joaquim Picardo, Grace Sheehy, Emily Madsen, Jorge Matine and Sally Dijkerman
Adolescents 2023, 3(2), 343-365; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3020024 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2638
Abstract
Adolescents and young women in Mozambique experience high levels of unintended pregnancies, with induced abortion being a common outcome. Stigma and gender norms are likely to negatively impact experiences of pregnancy and abortion, and hamper access to information and services. We assessed knowledge, [...] Read more.
Adolescents and young women in Mozambique experience high levels of unintended pregnancies, with induced abortion being a common outcome. Stigma and gender norms are likely to negatively impact experiences of pregnancy and abortion, and hamper access to information and services. We assessed knowledge, attitudes, practices, and experiences around pregnancy and abortion in six communities in Nampula and Zambézia provinces. We conducted 19 triad interviews with young women and girls, 19 focus group discussions with male and female adult community members, and 15 in-depth interviews with young women with abortion experience. Participants described how gender values, norms, and practices affect girls’ risk of unintended pregnancy and their experiences of pregnancy and abortion. The drivers of adolescent pregnancy included transactional sex and gender-based violence, including early marriage, and gender roles and expectations that lead parents and others to oppose contraception. Stigma around abortion, early or unintended pregnancy, and adolescent sexuality is fueled by gender norms and contributes to girls seeking unsafe abortions. Pregnancy and abortion decision making often involves male partners and family members. In conclusion, gender norms strongly influence the occurrence and outcome of unintended pregnancies and abortion in Mozambique. While abortion legislation was recently liberalized, gender values, norms, and practices inhibit young women’s and girls’ access to services and need to be addressed in policy and programming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
13 pages, 267 KiB  
Article
Money, Economic Abuse, and Food Insecurity: A Qualitative Study among Young Nigerian Women with a History of Intimate Partner Violence
by Elizabeth L. Frost, Olufunmilayo I. Fawole, Omowumi O. Okedare, Mobolaji M. Salawu, Susan M. Kiene, Camarina Augusto and Elizabeth Reed
Adolescents 2023, 3(2), 330-342; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3020023 - 25 May 2023
Viewed by 1695
Abstract
Intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs in high proportions among young women, with long-lasting adverse health and social outcomes. Recent research findings suggest that experiencing economic vulnerability may influence the ways in which young women experience or are at risk for IPV, including economic [...] Read more.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs in high proportions among young women, with long-lasting adverse health and social outcomes. Recent research findings suggest that experiencing economic vulnerability may influence the ways in which young women experience or are at risk for IPV, including economic abuse. Economic abuse, a form of IPV, involves a partner’s control over money and other economic resources or activities. This study explored economic vulnerability and IPV, including economic abuse, among young Nigerian women reporting a recent history of IPV. In-depth interviews (n = 25) were conducted with women aged 18–30 years who had experienced IPV in the past year. Women were recruited from community and health facilities in low-income neighborhoods of Ibadan, Nigeria. A semi-structured interview guide was used to gather data on women’s economic vulnerability (e.g., food security, living situation, employment/education opportunities, family financial support, economic independence) and experiences of IPV. An analysis was conducted using a thematic analysis approach. The coding scheme was based on interview protocols, adding open codes from emergent themes identified in the interviews. On average, participants were 21 years old, most had children (68%) and reported to be cohabitating with a male partner (56%), and 48% had less than a secondary level of education. Among the emergent themes, women reported economic vulnerability as being financially dependent on a male partner for basic needs. Among this sample, economic vulnerability was exacerbated by limited education, training, and work opportunities, and a disproportionate burden of household labor. Economic vulnerability precipitated all forms of IPV, including economic abuse, as well as sexual and pregnancy coercion. Economic abuse was reported to occur when male partners controlled household finances and denied women adequate allowance to purchase household food, including food for children. Findings from this qualitative study suggest that interventions promoting educational and employment opportunities may be critical to reducing financial reliance on male partners and young women’s vulnerability to economic abuse and other forms of IPV. More research and programmatic work are needed on food deprivation as a form of economic abuse affecting women and their children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
15 pages, 297 KiB  
Article
Keeping the Essentials in Place: Lessons Learned from a Qualitative Study of DREAMS in Northern Uganda
by Diane Gardsbane and Paul Bukuluki
Adolescents 2023, 3(2), 290-304; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3020021 - 21 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1804
Abstract
Peer-facilitated curriculum-based programs, including Stepping Stones, have been shown to be effective in preventing HIV and reducing gender-based violence (GBV). We conducted a qualitative study in early 2017 to hear perspectives of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) participating in the USAID-funded Determined, [...] Read more.
Peer-facilitated curriculum-based programs, including Stepping Stones, have been shown to be effective in preventing HIV and reducing gender-based violence (GBV). We conducted a qualitative study in early 2017 to hear perspectives of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) participating in the USAID-funded Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe Women (DREAMS) intervention (administered by the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in northern Uganda that featured 10 peer-facilitated sessions of a Stepping Stones curriculum. The study focused on asking AGYW how the initiative had affected their lives and on identifying lessons learned that could support future initiatives. A total of 56 AGYW were interviewed, including the peer facilitator and 6–7 randomly selected participants of nine DREAMS groups in Northern Uganda. Overwhelmingly, participants indicated that regular HIV testing and knowing their status, knowledge and an increased use of family planning, and knowing how to respond to GBV were among the results of their participation. However, a problematic finding was that peer group discussions relating to reducing GBV included advising AGYW about how to adjust their own behavior in ways that would reduce tension with their male partners, rather than shifting harmful gender norms. This is not consistent with the Stepping Stones program and prompted a retrospective review of factors related to how the program was implemented to better understand this result. Our study points to the important role facilitators play in shifting challenging gender norms, and the importance of fidelity to original program designs, as well as appropriate adaptations for different contexts. Our findings also signal the need for funders to allow sufficient time to pilot and adapt models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
12 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Gender-Based Violence in Girls’ Sports
by Erin Willson and Gretchen Kerr
Adolescents 2023, 3(2), 278-289; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3020020 - 20 Apr 2023
Viewed by 3296
Abstract
Millions of girls and young women participate in organized sports annually as a vehicle for developing a strong sense of self, social bonds, a positive body image and a sense of agency. Although the benefits of sport engagement are experienced by many girls, [...] Read more.
Millions of girls and young women participate in organized sports annually as a vehicle for developing a strong sense of self, social bonds, a positive body image and a sense of agency. Although the benefits of sport engagement are experienced by many girls, the overwhelming evidence of experiences of gender-based violence in sport cannot be ignored (e.g., USA Gymnastics, Hockey Canada). This paper will address gender-based violence experienced by adolescents in sport with a focus on psychological violence. The literature is replete with evidence that girls experience higher rates of gender-based psychological violence in sport than boys, and as a result, incur developmental costs. Psychological violence is experienced by girls in sport in the form of demeaning comments, body shaming, inequitable media coverage and funding and the ongoing policing of women’s bodies in sport through sexualized sport attire and physiological testing. The causes and effects of psychological violence will be addressed along with recommendations to prevent and address gender-based violence in sport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
19 pages, 643 KiB  
Article
Socio-Cultural Barriers Influencing Unplanned Pregnancy in Mugombwa Refugee Camp, Rwanda: Female Adolescents’ Perspectives
by Autumn Eastman, Oluwatomi Olunuga and Tayechalem Moges
Adolescents 2023, 3(2), 259-277; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3020019 - 17 Apr 2023
Viewed by 3133
Abstract
Female adolescents experience exacerbated vulnerability to the effects of gender inequities in refugee settings, where there is often a lack of protective societal structures and the politicization of their access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, which result in an increase in [...] Read more.
Female adolescents experience exacerbated vulnerability to the effects of gender inequities in refugee settings, where there is often a lack of protective societal structures and the politicization of their access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, which result in an increase in teenage pregnancy as compared to non-refugee settings. In the Mugombwa refugee camp in Rwanda, there were 47 adolescent childbirths in 2021 alone. This study explores the perspectives of female adolescents on the barriers underpinning adolescent unplanned pregnancy in the Mugombwa refugee camp. Focus group discussions were conducted with 16 adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19. The findings were analyzed using inductive and deductive thematic analysis. Barriers at the individual, interpersonal, communal, and institutional levels underpin unplanned adolescent pregnancy. Socio-cultural barriers of poverty and transactional sex, poor knowledge of contraceptives, negative peer influence, sexual coercion, poor parent–adolescent communication, negative health worker attitudes, selective SRH community outreach, and the inaccessibility of contraceptives emerged as themes influencing the sexual behavior of adolescents and unplanned pregnancies. The socio-cultural barriers and systemic facilitators of gender inequality associated with being an adolescent female in a refugee camp must be prioritized to alleviate adolescent unplanned pregnancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 667 KiB  
Article
‘Now, She’s a Child and She Has a Child’—Experiences of Syrian Child Brides in Lebanon after Early Marriage
by Amanda Collier, Emily House, Shaimaa Helal, Saja Michael, Colleen M. Davison and Susan A. Bartels
Adolescents 2023, 3(2), 212-227; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3020016 - 25 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1872
Abstract
This study examined the lived experiences of Syrian refugee child brides to understand their needs as they navigate new social roles after marriage. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Lebanon using SenseMaker® to collect narratives from married Syrian girls age 13 and [...] Read more.
This study examined the lived experiences of Syrian refugee child brides to understand their needs as they navigate new social roles after marriage. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Lebanon using SenseMaker® to collect narratives from married Syrian girls age 13 and older and from their parents. Thematic analysis using inductive coding was performed. Identified themes were organized according to an adaptation of Bronfenbrenner’s socioecological theory of human development to present experiences across all levels of the girls’ interactions and potential influences. Themes at the microsystem level included overwhelming domestic expectations and worry about their own children in the girls’ roles as young mothers. Experiences of intimate partner violence and family conflict were common. At the exosystem level, participants described safety concerns and financial and legal system challenges. The macrosystem level highlighted social expectations around married girls discontinuing education and around separation or divorce. As efforts continue to prevent child marriage within the Syrian crisis and globally, understanding experiences of already married girls is critical to providing support for mitigating harm to child brides. Programs might consider safety planning, parenting supports, access to skills training and education, peer-to-peer social networking, and engaging husbands or families of child brides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 1038 KiB  
Article
Lessons Learned from a Mixed-Method Pilot of a Norms-Shifting Social Media Intervention to Reduce Teacher-Perpetrated School-Related Gender-Based Violence in Uganda
by Jasmine Uysal, Pooja Chitle, Marilyn Akinola, Catherine Kennedy, Rogers Tumusiime, Pam McCarthy, Leslie Gautsch and Rebecka Lundgren
Adolescents 2023, 3(2), 199-211; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3020015 - 23 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1780
Abstract
Background: Violence against children (VAC) is a global epidemic rooted in gender norms. One of the most common forms of VAC is school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). Research has shown the promise of social media to shift norms underlying abusive behaviors, but, to-date, no [...] Read more.
Background: Violence against children (VAC) is a global epidemic rooted in gender norms. One of the most common forms of VAC is school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). Research has shown the promise of social media to shift norms underlying abusive behaviors, but, to-date, no studies have reported on social media norms-shifting interventions to prevent SRGBV by teachers. This study describes lessons learned from a pilot social-media intervention to shift social norms among Ugandan teachers to promote gender equity and reduce SRGBV. Methods: We extracted information on group size, posts, engagements, and teachers’ comments from intervention Facebook and WhatsApp social media groups and conducted mixed-methods data analysis. The study and program team met weekly to review findings and adjust the approach. Results: We found many teachers voiced social norms and attitudes upholding SRGBV in online groups, highlighting the need for intervention. Social media groups were largely acceptable to teachers, reached many teachers throughout Uganda, and often promoted active discussion. The program team carefully monitored online engagement, identified needed shifts, and performed mid-course adjustments in response to emerging challenges. Lessons learned included focusing on positive norms instead of harmful norms, engaging peer-influencers to shift norms, and including educational resources to inform behavior change. Conclusions: This study offers learnings on application of social and behavior-change communication and social norms principles to future online violence prevention initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
Show Figures

Figure 1

20 pages, 327 KiB  
Article
The Brother–Sister Sibling Dyad as a Pathway to Gender-Based Violence Prevention: Engaging Male Siblings in Family-Strengthening Programs in Humanitarian Settings
by Andrea Koris, Monica Giuffrida, Kristine Anderson, Hana Shalouf, Ibrahim Saley, Ahmad Marei, Ilana Seff, Julianne Deitch and Lindsay Stark
Adolescents 2023, 3(1), 153-172; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3010012 - 02 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 18379
Abstract
Household violence poses a significant threat to the physical and mental health of adolescent girls. In conflict-affected communities, increased stresses to safety, security, health, and livelihoods may heighten this risk. While it is widely evidenced that the caregiver-child relationship can increase or protect [...] Read more.
Household violence poses a significant threat to the physical and mental health of adolescent girls. In conflict-affected communities, increased stresses to safety, security, health, and livelihoods may heighten this risk. While it is widely evidenced that the caregiver-child relationship can increase or protect against girls’ risk of violence, less is known about the role of male siblings. Sibling Support for Adolescent Girls in Emergencies (SSAGE) used whole-family support programming to synchronously engage adolescent girls, their male siblings, and their caregivers in conflict-affected communities in Jordan and Niger, using gender-transformative approaches to explore the impacts of gender norms, power, and violence and encourage support and emotional connection. We conducted qualitative research activities, including focus group discussions, participatory group activities, and in-depth, paired, and key informant interviews with 469 SSAGE participants and program facilitators to explore SSAGE’s impact on the male-female sibling dyad in both settings. The multi-stakeholder team used a collaborative thematic analysis approach to identify emergent themes. Findings suggest that the inclusion of male siblings in family strengthening programs may have a positive impact on factors related to girls’ protection, with research participants discussing decreased perpetration of physical and verbal violence by male siblings, increased equity in household labor between siblings, and improved trust and mutual support among siblings. These changes were facilitated by improved communication and interrogation of positive gender identities. In humanitarian settings, interventions that support more gender-transformative, egalitarian, and emotionally effective relationships between male-female siblings can work towards improving girls’ protective assets. More research on the impact of this relationship on girls’ experience of immediate and long-term experience of violence is needed. In settings where gender power dynamics among male-female siblings are less salient, other relationship dyads should be explored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
8 pages, 222 KiB  
Article
Cyber Sexual Harassment among Adolescent Girls: A Qualitative Analysis
by Marissa Salazar, Anita Raj, Jay G. Silverman, Melanie L. A. Rusch and Elizabeth Reed
Adolescents 2023, 3(1), 84-91; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3010007 - 20 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2597
Abstract
Background: Research efforts are increasingly recognizing young girls’ experiences of technology facilitated sexual harassment, which includes sexual harassment via electronic technology and social networking sites. The current study aimed to qualitatively describe experiences of cyber sexual harassment (CSH), as well as its effects, [...] Read more.
Background: Research efforts are increasingly recognizing young girls’ experiences of technology facilitated sexual harassment, which includes sexual harassment via electronic technology and social networking sites. The current study aimed to qualitatively describe experiences of cyber sexual harassment (CSH), as well as its effects, among a sample of sexually active adolescent girls. Methods: Qualitative interviews (n = 25) were conducted among a sub-group of adolescent girls at risk for CSH (those who reported experiencing sexual or dating violence) who participated in a larger cross-sectional clinic-based study on sexual health. Participants were asked to describe their experiences or peers’ experiences of CSH. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and a thematic analysis approach was used to analyze qualitative findings. Results: Participants reported experiencing several different types of CSH, including (a) being forced or pressured to send sexual photos, (b) receiving unwanted sexual messages/photos, and (c) having sexual photos posted or shared without the sender’s permission. Findings also highlighted the consequences of experiencing CSH, including social isolation and negative effects on girls’ education. Conclusions: These scenarios of CSH described by participants highlight the multiple ways in which girls experience CSH. Our findings begin to inform the development of quantitative survey measures that reflect these specific types of CSH experiences reported by adolescents. The consistent use of such measures will be critical to establish the prevalence and consequences of CSH in future studies on this topic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
12 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Adolescent Girls’ Experiences Regarding Teenage Pregnancy in the Rural Villages of Limpopo Province, South Africa
by Patrone Rebecca Risenga and Sheillah Hlamalani Mboweni
Adolescents 2023, 3(1), 60-71; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3010004 - 30 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4960
Abstract
Every year, 7.3 million girls become pregnant before they turn 18. Teenage pregnancy increases when girls are denied the right to make decisions about their sexual health and well-being, which is a gender equality issue. Among the challenges of gender equality are those [...] Read more.
Every year, 7.3 million girls become pregnant before they turn 18. Teenage pregnancy increases when girls are denied the right to make decisions about their sexual health and well-being, which is a gender equality issue. Among the challenges of gender equality are those expectations that communities have about girls and early motherhood, sexual violence, and rape. Another challenge is the early marriages of children to older men coupled with the unique risks faced by these girls during pregnancy, for example, the interruption of their education, health risks, such as HIV, premature birth, and increased maternal mortality, denying the girls the right to live a healthy life. This study sought to explore the experiences of adolescent girls regarding teenage pregnancy in the rural villages of the Mopani District, Limpopo. A descriptive, explorative, and qualitative design was followed to collect data from 20 pregnant teenagers in a 13–19 years-old age group. A nonprobability purposive sampling method was used to select the participants from the three villages of the Mopani District. The data were collected using an in-depth individual interview. Tesch’s eight steps of data analysis were also applied. The study findings reveal several factors that explain the high rates of teenage pregnancy in rural Limpopo. Among these are the socioeconomic and cultural factors that predispose teens to pregnancy. The consequences of teenage pregnancy were expressed in terms of regret and ill health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
14 pages, 272 KiB  
Article
Reported Perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence among Adolescent Girls: Motivations and IPV Victimization
by Emily R. Kahn, Tracy L. Finlayson, Lucinda Rasmussen, Anita Raj, Jay G. Silverman, Melanie Rusch and Elizabeth Reed
Adolescents 2022, 2(4), 479-492; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents2040038 - 29 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1381
Abstract
Background: Studies on intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration by girls and women have found self-defense is a common motivation. Current items—namely the abbreviated items from the Conflicts Tactics Scale (CTS)—used to measure IPV perpetration may be counting these girls/women as perpetrators when they [...] Read more.
Background: Studies on intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration by girls and women have found self-defense is a common motivation. Current items—namely the abbreviated items from the Conflicts Tactics Scale (CTS)—used to measure IPV perpetration may be counting these girls/women as perpetrators when they are victims of IPV. The purpose of this study was to assess adolescent girls’ IPV perpetration, including (a) motivations and (b) factors associated with reports of adolescent girls’ perpetration of IPV using standard abbreviated CTS measures. Methods: This study utilized cross-sectional survey data collected from 159 participants in an urban Southern California clinic in 2016–2018. Demographic variables—age, ethnicity, current school enrollment, living situation and born in the U.S.—were analyzed with chi-square or independent t-tests. Frequency analyses were used to quantify motivations for IPV perpetration. Crude and adjusted logistic regression models assessed key variables associated with female adolescents’ IPV perpetration: victimization, drug use, alcohol day, binge drinking, depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation. A final multivariate model further adjusted for IPV victimization. Results: The average age of participants was 17 years old, and the majority of participants were Hispanic. Primary motivations for adolescent girls’ IPV perpetration included self-defense. Adolescent girls who reported IPV perpetration had significantly greater odds of victimization [95% CI = 4.31–32.07], drug use [95% CI = 1.14–6.99], binge drinking [95% CI = 1.08–6.87], and suicide ideation [95% CI = 1.13–10.62]. These findings remained significant in models adjusted for significant demographics. In the final multivariate regression model adjusted for IPV victimization, none of these factors remained significantly related to adolescent girls’ IPV perpetration. Conclusions: Findings establish a connection between victimization, self-defense, and adolescent girls’ IPV perpetration. These findings add to existing literature suggesting that the CTS measures of perpetration may encompass both IPV victimization and perpetration when used with populations of girls and women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
17 pages, 550 KiB  
Article
Gendered Analysis of Cyberbullying Victimization and Its Associations with Suicidality: Findings from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey
by Rebecca S. Levine, Amy Vatne Bintliff and Anita Raj
Adolescents 2022, 2(2), 235-251; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents2020019 - 26 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2869
Abstract
Cyberbullying victimization (CV), a widespread experience in adolescence, is associated with increased depression and suicidality. However, few studies have taken a gender approach when investigating the association between CV and suicidality, despite research that indicates disparate experiences by gender for both CV and [...] Read more.
Cyberbullying victimization (CV), a widespread experience in adolescence, is associated with increased depression and suicidality. However, few studies have taken a gender approach when investigating the association between CV and suicidality, despite research that indicates disparate experiences by gender for both CV and mental health. We conducted a secondary data analysis of the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (N = 10,309; 50.1% girls), a cross-sectional survey drawn from a representative sample of US high school students. We found that CV remained significantly associated with suicidality after controlling for emotional and behavioral risk factors, for both boys and girls. CV increased the odds of suicidality directly and indirectly by increasing risk for depression, for both boys and girls. Boys contending with both CV and sexual violence were particularly vulnerable to suicidality, and binge drinking was positively associated with CV for girls but negatively associated with CV for boys. Findings confirmed that CV is a pervasive issue among U.S. adolescents. A gendered approach is necessary in order to understand and address the effects of CV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Research

19 pages, 1185 KiB  
Systematic Review
How Can We Address What We Do Not Measure? A Systematic Scoping Review of the Measurement and Operationalization of Social Determinants of Health Research on Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive among Adolescents in the US
by Catherine Poehling, Margaret Mary Downey, Anwei Polly Gwan, Sarah Cannady and Olivia Ismail
Adolescents 2023, 3(2), 240-258; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3020018 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2071
Abstract
Teen pregnancy is often considered an adverse health outcome that accentuates gender inequities, diminishes opportunities, and jeopardizes the safety of adolescent and young adult birthing people. Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) have been hailed as a panacea for teen pregnancy. However, adolescents and emerging [...] Read more.
Teen pregnancy is often considered an adverse health outcome that accentuates gender inequities, diminishes opportunities, and jeopardizes the safety of adolescent and young adult birthing people. Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) have been hailed as a panacea for teen pregnancy. However, adolescents and emerging adults intersect with multiple assaults on their health and well-being due to gender inequity and racism. To establish equitable care, it is imperative to discern all barriers that influence their reproductive autonomy. This study evaluates the measurement, operationalization, and quality of research conducted on adolescents and emerging adults that analyzed the use of LARC within the social determinant of health framework (SDOH) in the US. SDOH were assessed using the Dahlgren and Whitehead model, and reports were analyzed using a modified version of the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Critical Appraisal tools. Nineteen articles were included in this study. Researchers found the insufficient measurement of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender among studies on LARC and SDOH in adolescents and emerging adults. Future studies must measure a full range of identities in data collection to generate knowledge on the impact of SDOH and LARC use among diverse populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Equity and Girls’ Health)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop