AdvanceGender
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Strategies for selecting topics for sex/gender-sensitive and intersectional health reporting
Background

For sex/gender-related and intersectional health reporting, the selection of topics is of great importance as it signals the relevance of a topic for public health. By means of the health topics reported on, health inequities can be made visible and introduced into public discourse. Both sex/gender-sensitive and intersectional reporting demand a nuanced presentation of differentiations within sex/gender groups. Especially when considering small social groups, two challenges arise: First, there is hardly any reliable statistical data on smaller population groups (e.g. on refugee women and men, inter: and trans: persons) such that gaps remain when reporting on these groups. Second, both the non-reporting and the thematic focus on health problems of individual groups can imply discrimination (e.g. the thematic focus on HIV/AIDS in the reporting on men who have sex with men). The following challenges for topic selection and suggestions for the practice of sex/gender-sensitive and intersectional health reporting were developed in the AdvanceGender project:

Challenges and suggestions

I. Methods for sex/gender-sensitive and intersectional topic selection

  1. Sex/gender-relevant health topics should be selected based on existing evidence.
  2. Sex/gender-relevant health topics should be analysed for intersections with other categories of difference (e.g. men with disabilities) based on existing evidence.
  3. Gaps in previous sex/gender-related health reports should be identified and addressed in dialogue with civil society stakeholders.
  4. Civil society stakeholders can support the selection of topics as they can name health topics relevant to specific population groups, especially those related to sex/gender and specific intersections.

II. Non-discriminatory selection of topics

  1. To minimise discrimination, civil society stakeholders should be consulted in advance of reporting on specific social groups.
  2. The aims of reporting should be made transparent such that it is clear why a specific topic or social group is being reported on.
  3. Even with limited data, important health issues of particularly disadvantaged population groups should be reported.

(see also suggestions on "non-discriminatory language and responsible communication in health reports")

Conclusions

The challenges and suggestions for the selection of topics for sex/gender-sensitive and intersectional health reporting formulated here are based on leading edge scientific discussions on sex/gender-sensitive and intersectional research and reporting, on original research and desk reviews. In addition, the expertise of scientists, health reporters and civil society representatives was included in a structured way. A Delphi survey showed a high level of agreement with the recommendations developed by the project team. For the area "strategies for selecting topics for sex/gender-sensitive and intersectional health reporting", important recommendations were made that should be taken into account during implementation.

For example, it was pointed out that other sources should be consulted in the selection of topics in addition to the scientific literature. The recommendation that sex/gender-relevant health topics should be analysed for intersections with other categories of difference based on existing evidence was viewed rather sceptically.

Regarding the involvement of civil society stakeholders (see recommendations on "involvement of civil society stakeholders"), the innovative potential (in combination with a literature-based selection of topics) and the pioneering role of sex/gender-based PHMR were underscored. However, the danger of conflicts of interest and possible difficulties in selecting suitable individuals were detailed. This difficulty had already been identified for the involvement of civil society stakeholders during the run-up to the reporting; here, accessibility and required resources were pointed out as challenges and the definition of ‘marginalisation’ was addressed.

Finally, there was widespread agreement on the suggestion that important health issues of particularly disadvantaged population groups should be reported on even if the data is limited. Above all, it was noted that it was important to identify data gaps and to stimulate corresponding research activities.

This document was retrieved from the AdvanceGender website (www.advancegender.info).  

Authors:

Kathleen Pöge, Alexander Rommel, Sarah Strasser, Anke-Christine Saß, Franziska Prütz, Anne Starker (RKI) on behalf of the joint project AdvanceGender

Suggested citation: Pöge K, Rommel A, Strasser S, Saß AC, Prütz F, Starker A. Strategies for selecting topics for sex/gender-sensitive and intersectional health reporting. In: AdvanceGender Study Group (ed.). Suggestions for sex/gender-sensitive and intersectionality-informed research and health reporting; 2022. (www.advancegender.info).

Corresponding authors: Kathleen Pöge (PoegeK@rki.de), Alexander Rommel (RommelR@rki.de) 

Version: 1.0 (Date: 24.01.2022)