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Equality on his Terms : Doing and Undoing Gender through Men’s Discussion Groups (English)

Efforts to promote gender equality often encourage changes to interpersonal interactions as a way of undermining gender hierarchy. Such programs are premised on the idea that the gender system can be undone when individuals behave in ways that challenge prevailing gender norms. However, scholars know little about whether and under what conditions real changes to the gender system can result from changed behaviors. The authors use the context of a gender sensitization program in the Democratic Republic of Congo to examine prospects for transformative change at the interactional level of the gender system. Over nine months, the authors observed significant changes in men’s quotidian practices. Further, the authors identified a new commitment among many men to a more equal division of household labor. However, participants consistently undermined the transformative potential of these behavioral changes through their dedication to maintaining control over the objective, process, and meaning of change, resisting conceptions of equality that challenged the gender system. Because quotidian changes left gender hierarchy intact, they appear unlikely to destabilize the logics that legitimate women’s subordination.


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    Pierotti,Rachael Susan, Lake,Milli May, Lewis,Chloe Markham

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    Working Paper

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    The World Region,

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    Equality on his Terms : Doing and Undoing Gender through Men’s Discussion Groups

  • Keywords

    Demographic and Health Survey; know how; division of labor; gender hierarchy; intimate partner violence; gender norm; behavior change; Gender Equality; data collection activity; theory of change; discussion group; gender difference; source income; source of income; Gender-Based Violence; violence against woman; qualitative research method; burden on woman; unequal power relation; qualitative data collection; effects of gender; global public health; dimension of gender; control over resources; types of violence; survivors of violence; emergency medical technician; household labor; daily life; social interaction; gender relation; gender sensitization; social change; fetching water; ethnographic research; level of change; empirical study; social structure; Sexual Violence; social expectation; behavioral change; public statement; social pressure; informal conversation; social sanctions; social process; social psychology; social relation; local researcher; prevention program; baseline survey; participant observation; economic hardship; research site; participatory method; community perceptions; skilled researcher; Cash Income; researcher note; longitudinal study; legal norm; social order; Armed Conflict; field researcher; baseline data; longitudinal data; domestic activity; new practice; primary source; new way; public events; present evidence; Child care; several forms; sweet potato; research participant; gender differentiation; job loss; representative survey; focus group; male participant; social cohesion; social network; drawing water; household welfare; fewer women; gender justice; morning prayer; recent studies; longitudinal research; female partner; qualitative approach; male dominance; individual behavior; demographic research; informal rule; gradual change; gender identity; sociological methods; broad agreement; Armed Forces; health outcome; social comparison; Learning and Innovation Credit; social dynamic; farm woman; mass media; empowering women; gender equity; economic dependency; gender inequalities; ethnographic method; research setting; community support; married woman; public space; anonymous reviewer; contextual factor; farm machinery; internal displacement; agricultural worker; research show; fundamental principles; Gender Inequality; public resistance; existing norm; critical examination; family dynamic; social life



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Pierotti,Rachael Susan Lake,Milli May Lewis,Chloe Markham

Equality on his Terms : Doing and Undoing Gender through Men’s Discussion Groups (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.