Renu Khanna, a feminist women’s health and rights activist, is a trailblazer in participatory action research in women’s health. In the early 1980’s, Renu began using participatory action research as part of her broader work with SARTHI’s Women’s Health Programme. SARTHI – Social Action for Rural and Tribal Inhabitants of India - did groundbreaking work in gynecological and psychological health related to gender-based violence. Its overall purpose was to give women a meaningful voice in their own health care. For example, to incorporate traditional health practices and modern allopathic health practices, they trained pre-literate women health workers, barefoot gynecologists, to provide gynecologic services.
Renu is one of the co-founders of SAHAJ-Society for Health Alternatives, based in Vadodara (Gujarat). Renu has worked for health equity for over three decades, particularly mobilizing traditionally marginalized groups – first in tribal areas of Gujarat, the urban poor in Vadodara city, and subsequently on health issues of sexual minorities, people living with disabilities, and adolescents.
Renu has over four decades of experience as a trainer, action researcher, evaluator, and policy analyst in India. She is on the governing boards and steering committees of several national and international organizations and networks, including the Steering Committee of COPASAH. She is a Joint National Convenor of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan - the People’s Health Movement of India - and a founder member of CommonHealth Coalition of Maternal Neonatal Health and Safe Abortion. She's part of a coalition of feminist evaluators who are promoting gender transformative research and evaluation.
Khanna, Renu & Price, Janet (1994). Female sexuality, regulation, and resistance. In Caroline Sweetman and Kate de Sellncourt (Eds). Population and reproductive rights. pp. 29-34. Oxford, UK: Oxfam.
Renu Khanna (1996). Participatory action research (PAR) in women’s health: SARTHI, India. In Korrie De Koning and Marion Martin (Eds.). Participatory research in health: Issues and
experiences. pp.62-72. London: ZED Books.
Renu Khanna (1997). Dilemmas and conflicts in clinical research on women's reproductive health. Reproductive Health Matter, V 5, No 9, 168-173.
Khanna, R. (2012). A feminist, gender and rights perspective for evaluation of women's health programmes. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Vol 19, 2, 259-278.
Shukla, Abhay; Khanna, Renu; & Jadhav, Nitin. (2018). Using community-based evidence for decentralizated health planning: insights from Maharashra. Health policy and Planning.33:e34-e45.
Comrie-Thomson, Liz; Tokhi, Mariam; Ampt, Frances; Portela, Anayda; Chersich, Matthew; Khanna, Renu & Luchters, Stanley. (2015). Challenging gender inequity through male involvement in maternal and newborn health: critical assessment of an emerging evidence base. Culture, health, and sexuality. Vol 17, sup2, 177-189.
Khanna, Renu, Murthy, Ranjani, & Zaveri, Sonal. (2016) Gender Transformative Evaluations: Principles and frameworks. Shraddha Chigateri & Shiny Saha (Eds). A resource pack on gender transformative evaluations. pp. 16-37. New Delhi, India: Institute of Social Studies Trust
Khanna, Renu interview with Andréia Azevedo Soares (July 1, 2021) Giving women a voice in health and health care. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 99(7), 484–485. https://doi.org/10.2471/BLT.21.030721