Women, men, boys, and girls should have equal opportunities to be healthy and to reach their full potential. Yet differing health-related needs and different social, economic, and cultural barriers to accessing care thwart the ability of certain groups to access and benefit from health care services. Gender is a social determinant of health across all countries and cultures. Gender gaps and issues affect access to, utilization of, and quality of care for women, men, boys, and girls. To truly improve the quality of all care for all, these gender gaps and issues must be explicitly recognized and addressed by providers, facilities, and health systems, and this is especially true in quality improvement activities. In this video, watch Dr. Taroub Harb Faramand of WI-HER, LLC explain how addressing gender considerations in improvement work leads to better outcomes.

Community Quality Improvement Team in Buikwe, Uganda

We take an improvement approach to integrate gender through the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) project. By collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data and systematically identifying and analyzing gaps in outcomes among women, men, boys and girls, we evaluate what is causing poorer outcomes among one group, and design activities to respond to the needs of males or females to close the gap. We do this in improvement activities across health areas and beyond, including non-communicable diseases (NCDs) programming, HIV and ART services, OVC services, and more. We promote partner involvement in programs targeting either males or females, such as engaging male partners and fathers in ANC visits and PMTCT programs to improve outcomes for mothers and babies, and engaging female partners of males who undergo the VMMC procedure to improve follow-up and decrease adverse events. 

Our innovative and effective six-step approach to identify and close gender-related gaps improves health outcomes for all, and we utilize locally-owned, culturally-sensitive, and innovative models. We recognize that myriad factors at multiple levels of society affect gender norms that influence risk factors, access to care, utilization of care, and equality of treatment and we work to respond to these norms in concert to generate shifts in thinking and behavior. We address gender gaps and issues at the individual, household, and community levels, when necessary, though staff and community sensitization trainings, and we consider the varied contextual factors that drive outcomes for women, men, boys, and girls in the design, implementation, and evaluation of our programs.

To learn more about gender and how to integrate gender in improvement work, download A Guide to Integrating Gender in Improvement.

Integrating gender in USAID ASSIST Kenya activities: A versatile approach for addressing local and national issues

Megan Ivankovich

Senior Program Officer, WI-HER, LLC

As leaders of the gender integration work within the USAID ASSIST Project, we at WI-HER LLC have frequently commented on the versatility of our approach. Utilizing quality improvement principles and tools, we have stated that our 6-step approach to integrate gender can be applied to any topic in any field. The hard work of the USAID ASSIST Kenya team made this claim come to life.

Key Takeaways from the Gender360 Summit: Progress and shortcomings in achieving gender equality

Elizabeth Romanoff Silva


Thursday, June 11th marked the second annual Gender360 Summit hosted by FHI360. More than 250 gender and development professionals attended the summit, which boasted an impressive list of speakers and panelists, including USAID Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment Susan Markham; Catherine Russell, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State; and Andrea Bertone, Director of the Gender Department at FHI360. Panel discussions included the right approaches to achieving gender equality, the role of donors in advancing a gender equality agenda, and featured short talks about engaging boys and men in the discussion and targeting hard to reach populations.

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Elizabeth Romanoff Silva


May 23rd marked the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. This year’s theme “End fistula, restore women’s dignity,” emphasizes that high rates of fistula continue to debilitate women and girls and deny them equal opportunities around the world.

Global Health Mini University Gender Presentation

Washington, DC
WI-HER Gender Integration in HIV Services Presentation

On March 2nd, WI-HER's Dr. Taroub Harb Faramand, Elizabeth Romanoff Silva, and Megan Ivankovich presented at the Global Health Mini University Conference. The title of the presentation was "Gender Integration: The Key to Sustained Improvements in HIV Programs?" The presentation discussed why it is critical for HIV programs and services to identify and address gender issues, and highlighted the USAID ASSIST Project's approach and activities to integrate gender. The session generated a lot of excitement and discussion and received positive feedback. The session presentation and activity handout are available below. For more information, visit the Global Health Mini University webpage.

A Quality Improvement Approach in the Partnership for HIV-Free Survival that Responds to Gender Issues

Why address gender issues in the Partnership for HIV-Free Survival Male partners and other family members often influence whether a mother and baby access and remain in care in low- and middle-income countries. It’s important to analyze...

Empowering health workers to improve health and nutrition services for males and females in Zambia

Elizabeth Romanoff Silva


Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Zambia to provide gender technical assistance to the USAID ASSIST-supported nutrition assessment, counseling and support (NACS) services. Gender inequality is a major factor affecting vulnerability to malnutrition, especially for people living with HIV, so I was especially interested in working with health workers to identify the different issues preventing males and females from accessing services, issues affecting their nutrition status, and to identify the root causes preventing improved nutrition among women, men, girls and boys, and developing changes to test to find solutions.

Excel Databases for Improvement

These Excel databases were developed by the USAID ASSIST Project. They were designed to store indicator data from multiple facilities, pool indicator data from the facilities, and create run charts of the pooled indicator data. They will...

International Women's Day


International Women’s Day is Sunday, March 8th. It’s an opportunity to recognize women’s achievements and progress toward gender equality, discuss challenges, and focus greater attention on the importance of women’s rights and gender. To celebrate International Women’s Day and the work the USAID ASSIST Project is doing to improve the lives of women and girls around the world, we produced a blog series that highlights our gender integration approach and some illustrative activities and outcomes of our work to identify and address the specific needs of women and girls around the world using improvement techniques.

Celebrating International Women's Day

Taroub Faramand

Founder and President, WI-HER, LLC

March 8th is International Women’s Day. This commemoration serves as an important opportunity to think critically about the changes that have come about during the past year to improve the lives of girls and women. It also serves as an opportunity to recognize where gaps and inequalities are still pervasive and prevent women and girls from realizing their full potential and to advocate for further changes to increase equal opportunities for women and girls.