Assessing sexual and reproductive health needs of young people in Uttaranchal, India
Presentation at the 4th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights, Hyderabad, 31 October
Mishra,Anurag; Khan,M.E.; Morankar,Sudhakar
Publication date: 2007
It has been now realized that men's risk behavior often is embedded in the perceived characteristics of masculinity. The desire to demonstrate their masculinity puts them under heavy pressure, which gets reflected in risk behaviors. This is the stage where peer groups are formed and the construct of masculinity is learned and rehearsed.
With a view to reconstructing masculinity to promote the "Responsible Man," FRONTIERS/Population Council conducted a study to understand the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs of young men and the social constructs of gender identity in which young men mature and develop.
Information from male and female students of 11th and 12th grades was collected using self-administered questionnaires in a classroom setting. 234 boys and 189 girls from four intermediate colleges completed the questionnaires. Eight in-depth interviews and two focus group discussions also were conducted.
Findings revealed that socialization and behavior of young men is now influenced more by peer groups and the media than it is by parents. The major sources for boys' learning about SRH issues were friends/peers (56 percent) and films/magazines (61 percent). Early initiation of drugs/alcohol and sex was not uncommon. Sixteen percent of boys reported to have ever consumed alcohol. The average age of first consumption was 15 years. Twenty-one percent of boys were sexually active, and their average age at sexual initiation was 15 years. A strong positive association was found between the masculinity score and approval of violence for keeping women in control (2=23.9, p).The study highlights the need for interventions to influence men's behavior and promote an image of a "Responsible Man" who supports gender equity and denounces risky behavior and violence against women.