Newly Funded Studies Aim to Advance Gender Equity in the United States through International, Evidence-Based Research

Women standing together for a photo
  • Research shows that progress toward gender equity has slowed or stalled in the United States
  • Evidence for Action announces nearly $1 million in funding to four studies to assess how gender equity strategies from around the world could be implemented in the U.S.
  • Findings aim to advance gender equity by expanding workplace well-being, economic opportunity, and health services

WHAT: Evidence for Action, a signature program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, today announced its funding of four studies examining gender equity interventions that have shown promise internationally. Findings will offer insight and guidance for adapting similar practices in the United States.

WHY: There are many gender-based inequities still prevalent in U.S. society, with studies showing that progress has either stalled or stopped in some areas. Recent research has shown that these inequities have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Evidence for Action’s newly funded cohort of studies will examine initiatives from around the world that aim to improve gender equity in other countries and their applicability in U.S. society.

Contact: Steph Chernitskiy,, 415-502-3490.



  • Supporting the Health and Financial Security of Women Through Financial Education
    • Investment: $228,554
    • Lead Organization: University of Southern California
    • International Partner Organization: Tsao Foundation, Singapore
    • Study Summary: Women experience specific, gender-related challenges to financial well-being and face increasingly complex financial and health marketplaces. In response, researchers will work in partnership with HelpAge USA to explore the potential to deploy the Citi-Tsao Financial Education Program, a 12-week group-based intervention for women over 40 in the U.S., to examine how it affects health and well-being including:
      • Overall financial capability
      • Economic stability and financial well-being
      • Mental and physical health
      • Self-efficacy and self-sufficiency
      • Vulnerability to fraud
  • Investigating the Netherlands Gender Affirming Care Policy to Improve Transgender Youth Health Outcomes in the U.S.
    • Investment: $249,868 
    • Lead Organization: Children’s National Research Institute at Children’s National Hospital
    • International Partner Organization: VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    • Study Summary: In the U.S., transgender and gender minority (T/GM) youth face more challenges to their mental and physical health than their cisgender counterparts. This includes higher rates of victimization, suicide, and substance use, as well as disparities in educational access. T/GM youth in the Netherlands appear to experience fewer of these challenges. In an effort to advance health equity for T/GM youth, this research team is investigating the adaptability of core components of the Netherlands’ Gender Affirming Care Policy to U.S. systems and their link to T/GM mental health outcomes. Core components studied include:
      • Supports for gender affirmation/transition
      • Environmental affirmations related to respecting and affirming gender identity
      • Social protections
  • Adapting Economic and Social Empowerment Gender Equity Groups for Forcibly Displaced Populations
    • Investment: $244,784
    • Lead Organization: International Rescue Committee (U.S. Headquarters) in partnership with George Mason University
    • International Partner Organization: International Rescue Committee, Côte d’Ivoire
    • Study Summary: For forcibly displaced populations, which include refugees and asylum seekers, women experience unique challenges in achieving gender equity within their households. To address these issues, the investigators are evaluating how effective and accepted the implementation of an existing international program will be in the U.S., specifically within a refugee community in Phoenix, AZ, but with the potential for national implications. The health and equity outcomes to be measured are:
      • More equitable relationships between partners
      • Increased participation by women in household decision making
      • Decreased acceptance of intimate partner violence against women
  • Whistleblowing and Worker Well-being: Evidence from Bangladesh's Garments Sector
    • Investment: $225,484
    • Lead Organization: Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
    • International Partner Organization: Amader Kotha Helpline
    • Study Summary: There are many improvements needed in how gender discrimination and sexual harassment are mitigated and resolved in the workplace. To improve these systems, the researchers are conducting a trial to study how the implementation of a third-party workplace grievance helpline in Bangladesh – the Amader Kotha Helpline – affects various labor issues including:
      • Reporting of workplace issues, including sexual harassment
      • Workers’ mental well-being
      • Factories’ internal capacity to resolve issues
      • Worker absenteeism


“We know that good ideas have no boundaries, and there is so much we can learn from how other countries are approaching gender equity,” says Claire Gibbons, Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “These evaluations should make important contributions to what we know about how to achieve gender equity and a culture of health in the U.S.”

“We’re excited about the opportunity to support research teams from the U.S. and around the globe,” says Nancy Adler, Director of Evidence for Action. “They are assessing the applicability and possible impact of promising gender equity interventions from other countries to U.S. populations and settings.”




Evidence for Action is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation administered by the University of California, San Francisco. The program funds investigator-initiated research to build a culture of health that enables all members of society to lead healthier lives now and for generations to come. E4A grantees conduct innovative, rigorous research on the impact of programs, policies, and practices on health and well-being, with a particular focus on improving population health and health equity. Research results help identify actionable strategies and priorities for building a culture of health. To learn more, visit


For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. The Foundation is working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

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