2021 Equality, Health and Social Protection Analysis

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Measuring Values and Norms to Guide Swedish Development Cooperation

Anna Kågesten, Karin Båge, Jesper Sundewall, Helena Litorp, Bi Puranen, Olalekan Uthman, Anna Mia Ekström

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender are closely linked with cultural and societal values and norms. The EBA report: “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Measuring Values and Norms to Guide Swedish Development Cooperation” aims to improve the understanding of norms and values that undermine vs. support SRHR, and to identify gaps and possibilities for Swedish development cooperation to find ways to relate to these norms and values.

The authors have collected primary data on social values and norms through large national surveys in collaboration with the World Values Survey in three African countries: Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. They have also mapped Swedish development assistance within SRHR in Africa between 2010 and 2018, and analysed how Sida’s work relates to SRHR values and norms.

Key conclusions:

  • In Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, discriminatory norms are more common in relation to sexual and reproductive rights, than in association with sexual and reproductive health.
  • Discriminatory norms are common especially concerning LGBTQI people’s rights, but also in relation to for example abortion, women’s decision-making, divorce, and adolescents’ sexuality and right to choose partner.
  • The share of Swedish SRHR development assistance that is focused on rights has increased over time, while the share that is focused on health has decreased.

Advancing SRHR for all necessitates measuring and addressing values and social norms and appropriately contextualising and grounding any discussion or intervention activities in relevant human rights-based policy frameworks.

Anna Kågesten, Assistant Professor, global sexual and reproductive health, Karolinska Institutet

Karin Båge, doctoral student, department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet

Jesper Sundewall, Associate Professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Lund University

Helena Litorp, Assistant Professor in Global Reproductive Health, Karolinska Institutet

Bi Puranen, Associate Professor and Secretary General at World Values Survey

Olalekan Uthman, Professor, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick

Anna Mia Ekström, clinical professor in global infectious disease epidemiology, Karolinska institutet