Creidt: Wellcome Trust
Photo credit: Wellcome Trust
28 March 2019

Building health systems that transform gender norms

Author: Suzanne Petroni
Published by: ALIGN

Blog from an ALIGN-sponsored convening

From imagining a feminist internet to building health systems that transform gender norms, ALIGN, through supporting two forward-looking convenings last month, has truly embodied its mission of ensuring that the best available knowledge has an impact on challenging and changing discriminatory gender norms.

Participants at the convening
A participant sharing her ideas at the

I wrote previously about joining in the powerful discussions held by some 50 experts in Sri Lanka on how technology-facilitated gender-based violence can be overcome through feminist research, advocacy and action. Just days later, I found myself in Nairobi, along with researchers, practitioners and policy-makers from 11 countries, immersed in fascinating deliberations led by the Kenya Medical Research Institute–Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) and Research in Gender and Ethics (RinGs) about how health systems are both shaped by and contribute to gender norms.

Several of the meeting participants have written fantastic blogs that capture many of the thoughts I myself had during the convening, so I thought I’d share those here:

Leading policy-makers from Kenya also participated actively in the meeting, demonstrating their commitment to tackling harmful gender norms as a way to achieve both improved health outcomes and gender equality. If you’re interested in hearing their perspectives and those of a few others, I encourage you to watch these short videos on the RinGs’ YouTube channel:

Participants at the convening
The convening bought together experts from
the region.

In sum, the ALIGN-sponsored convening and these great videos and blogs demonstrate powerfully that, by sharing evidence with other researchers, policy-makers and practitioners, experts can expand our understanding of discriminatory gender norms – and what works to change them.

And that’s exactly what ALIGN was intended to do.


About the author

Suzanne PetroniSuzanne Petroni founded the consultancy, Gender Equality Solutions, in 2017 to support donors, governments and civil society to design and implement high-quality and gender-equitable global health and development programs. She brings nearly three decades of experience in the governmental, philanthropic, nonprofit and research sectors, and holds a doctorate in Gender and Social Policy from George Washington University, a master's in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, a bachelor's in International Relations from the University of California at Davis, and a certificate in Public Health in Complex Emergencies from Columbia University. She currently serves as the Convening Fund Lead for the ALIGN Programme.