Call for papers in transformative approaches for gender justice in sexual and reproductive health

September 18, 2018

The UC Global Health Institute Women’s Health, Gender, and Empowerment Center of Expertise (WHGE COE) is accepting submissions for a special issue of the journal Culture, Health & Sexuality on transformative approaches for gender justice in sexual and reproductive health.

Women’s empowerment has received increasing attention over the past three decades from fields as diverse as epidemiology, economic development and social justice. Research shows that unequal power dynamics between women and men lead to poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes, including increased risk of HIV, greater morbidity in childbearing and higher levels of gender-based violence. Culture – defined broadly as the social and structural underpinnings of human behavior – works at various socio-ecological levels to sustain the unequal power dynamics that drive poor health outcomes.

Despite progress, researchers and policy makers struggle to determine whether or not ideas such as “women’s empowerment” and “gender transformation” have been attained because these terms are often used without clear definition. There is a lack of conceptual and empirical work articulating “gender transformation” as either an outcome or a step in a broader process that results in improved health for individuals or communities. As structural approaches gain traction in the field of public health, there is a pressing need to open the ‘black box’ of empowerment and other gender-oriented interventions to better understand the mechanisms that lead to success and failure.

About the special issue

To address this evidence gap, the WHGE COE is preparing a special issue of Culture, Health & Sexuality journal on transformative approaches for gender justice in sexual and reproductive health. Authors are invited to submit quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods and theoretical manuscripts on the following topics:

  • The use of behavioral or sociological theory in women’s empowerment, gender transformation or masculinities interventions and programming
  • Intersectional approaches in which inequalities of gender, race, sexual orientation and class are addressed in health interventions and programing
  • Novel approaches to measuring gender transformation, masculinity, femininity or genders and sexualities that go beyond the cisgendered and/ heterosexual binary
  • Process evaluations or ethnographic approaches to describe the mechanisms of gender transformative interventions
  • Economic analyses of potential large scale policy approaches that target gender transformation

All submissions should critically examine how some form of culture (of peoples, environments, institutions or policy) frames gender transformation. Manuscripts should offer practical guidance to women’s empowerment and gender transformative work by focusing on program and intervention design, measurement and mechanisms for change.

All papers submitted for consideration for inclusion in the special issue will be revised by the journal in the usual way and only those that are successful in peer review will be accepted for inclusion.

Submission details

Submission Deadline (extended): January 31, 2019

  • Follow the journal’s submission instructions
  • Submit papers here
  • Please note: Culture, Health & Sexuality publishes in UK English and uses the Chicago style of referencing

Questions? Email Stephanie Sumstine, MPH at

About the Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment COE

The Center of Expertise on Women's Health, Gender and Empowerment envisions a world in which equitable gender norms lead to healthy and empowered women — including University of California students. The COE promotes research, education and community engagement both globally and locally to reduce gender and health inequities.