Gender Matters for Native Youth (GEN-M Native)

About This Program


Gender Matters is a comprehensive sexual health education program designed for youth 14-18 years old. The goal of Gender Matters is to decrease rates of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, and gender-based violence, by exploring healthy relationships and how inequitable and unhealthy gender norms affect adolescent sexual decision-making. The Gender Matters toolkit includes: a Gender Matters Program Implementation and Adaptation Manual, a Gender Matters Evaluation Compendium, and a Gender Matters Facilitator Training Guide. An inter-tribal planning process was used to adapt the Gender Matters program for Native Youth (GEN-M Native).

  • Age Group Designed For:

    High School
  • LGBT inclusive:

  • Trauma Informed:

  • Program Setting:

  • Curricula Type:

    Sexual Health
  • Duration:

    20 hour workshop
  • Cost To Purchase:

  • Teacher Training or Certification Required:

  • Student to Teacher Ratio:

  • Program Outcomes:

    Delayed sexual initiation, Improved contraception use, Reduced teen pregnancy, Youth increased their consistent and correct use of condoms
  • Evidence of Effectiveness:

    Emerging Practice

Program Contact Information


Downloadable Training Materials:

Teacher Training or Certification Requirements:

The Gender Matters Facilitator Training Guide provides guidance to educators planning to facilitate the curriculum.

The manual can be used to:

  • Assess the readiness of your organization to implement the Gender Matters program
  • Identify and establish potential program partnerships
  • Develop and conduct a formative assessment
  • Recruit youth
  • Hire and train project staff (also see the Gender Matters Facilitator Training Guide)
  • Make informed adaptations
  • Implement the program effectively
  • Begin to think about and develop a process and/or outcome evaluation (also see the Gender Matters Evaluation Compendium)
  • Advocate for implementation of the Gender Matters program
  • Develop grant proposals

Lesson Plans


Additional Materials:

Supporting Materials

Marketing Materials:

Cultural Relevance


Gender Matters is a comprehensive sexual health education program designed for youth ages 14–18. Through education, this program works to decrease rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as HIV. To reduce gender-based violence among teens, Gender Matters explores how inequitable, unhealthy gender norms can negatively impact relationships and sexual decision making. This program’s gender-transformative approach engages youth in questioning the costs of harmful gender norms and guides them to healthier, more equitable ones. Throughout this program, youth will investigate themes of gender. In adapting Gender Matters for Native Youth (GEN-M-Native), the following steps were taken to develop of the manual:

  1. Literature Review and Research. EngenderHealth staff conducted a thorough literature review on sexual health disparities, needs, attitudes, and behaviors of Native youth populations. The literature underscored the need for comprehensive sexual health and gender-focused education for Native youth. Gender Matters focuses on developing healthy, equitable relationships, and challenging gender norms; this places it in a unique position to help Native youth learn ways to redefine unhealthy gender norms, prevent pregnancy, and develop healthy relationships.
  2. Key Informant Interviews. EngenderHealth interviewed more than 20 professionals who have developed, adapted, and implemented health education curricula for Native youth, as well as leaders from Native communities. The lessons learned during these interviews were used to customize the adaptation manual to meet the diverse needs of Native youth and communities throughout the country.
  3. Advisory Committee and Panel Review Committee. EngenderHealth staff convened a robust advisory committee and review panel, each made up of four individuals located throughout the United States with direct experience working with Native youth in health education or health care. Advisory committee and review committee members served a vital purpose in researching and guiding the appropriate cultural adaptations available in the manual.
  4. Site Visits. EngenderHealth staff met with Native youth and families in southern Oklahoma to learn more about their needs and interest in youth sexual health programming. EngenderHealth staff also met with staff from Mama Knows, Inc., in Oklahoma, who provide talking retreats for Native mothers and daughters, as well as with health educators, program developers, and researchers from Sanford Health in South Dakota, who provide sexual health programs for Native youth. These visits helped us gain perspective from the community, service providers, and researchers on how to meet the needs of Native youth, engage communities, and develop programming that is culturally sensitive.



The development, implementation, and evaluation of the Gender Matters program was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health (2010–2016). The program was originally tested with a group of adolescents residing in Austin, Texas, from 2010 to 2015, which has since been adapted and replicated with additional United States communities and West African populations. More information is available in the Program Evaluation Compendium.

Evaluation Materials: