this study evaluated the impact of workshops on health and gender conducted through extension programs under universidade do vale do rio dos sinos (unisinos) in the city of s？o leopoldo, rio grande do sul, brazil. the method was based on participatory research and action-based research. women's groups were organized in two locations in the city. the first group was attended by 14 women, with a total of 6 meetings. the second received 18 women and held a total of 11 meetings. the themes discussed and experienced were: relations between parents and children, gender stereotypes and roles, conjugality, limits to abusive behaviors, body and sexuality, and empowerment to deal with violence. thirteen women who attended the second group changed their behavior patterns, looking for jobs, going back to school, improving their body image, and reassessing situations involving violence. the group of researchers approached the s？o leopoldo women's forum and helped strengthen a support network, as well as increasing the visibility of specific policies and the planning and implementation of public policies for women.