The article presents findings from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), one of the most comprehensive household studies ever carried out on men’s attitudes and practices – along with women’s opinions and reports of men’s practices – on a wide variety of topics related to gender equality.
This analysis of data from eight low and middle-income countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), India, Mexico, and Rwanda) was published just in time for the 2014 MenEngage Global Symposium in Delhi. It provides a current picture of men’s attitudes about gender and gender equality, explores determinants of equitable attitudes, and investigates the associations between equitable attitudes and relationship behaviors.
Gary Barker, International Director of Promundo, referenced findings from the article and from IMAGES in his opening remarks on the state of the men-for-gender-equality field during the symposium.
“In 12 countries where we have carried out IMAGES data,” Barker said, “[we] found that urbanization, educational attainment, mother’s education, are all leading to men having more equitable attitudes in much of the world.”
The analysis shows that men are generally positive about gender equality: In most countries, men did not perceive gender equality as a “zero-sum game” where gains for women meant losses for men, and they generally supported public policy initiatives such as quotas to improve the participation of women in government, education, and business. These high levels of support have not yet translated into equality for women in practice in most of these settings, as demonstrated by low levels of men’s participation in household and caregiving tasks, and in high levels of violence.
Men’s level of education emerged as an important predictor of equitable attitudes: In all countries, men with higher educational attainment had more equitable attitudes than those with less education. The findings also highlight the important role that equitable gender dynamics in the childhood home play in shaping men’s equitable attitudes as adults.
Finally, the study also found that men’s more equitable attitudes were significantly associated with their behaviors and relationship practices, including greater participation in household tasks and lower likelihood of using violence against a partner.
These findings suggest that in addition to changing structures and policies that support gender equality, there is a need to deconstruct the inequitable attitudes and norms that many men and boys continue to internalize related to gender roles, power, and violence, and that doing so can bring benefits to both men and women’s lives.
“Pathways to Gender-Equitable Men: Findings from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES)” is authored by Ruti Levtov and Gary Barker (Promundo), Manuel Contreras-Urbina (Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University), and Brian Heilman and Ravi Verma (International Center for Research on Women).
Click here to read full report at Sage