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The Other Side of Gender Inequality: Men and Masculinities in Afghanistan

By: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, Chona R. Echavez, SayedMahdi Mosawi, Leah Wilfreda RE Pilongo

“Masculinities” refers to how people perceive the characteristics associated with being male. The overall purpose of the research is to achieve an in-depth understanding of different notions of being a man in Afghanistan and how they contribute to gender inequality. This report is the result of a collaborative research project by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) and the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) that is designed to inform both policy and practice in how to address gender inequalities vis-à-vis notions of masculinities in Afghanistan.

A multi-method approach employed both quantitative and qualitative techniques to assess four different regions that manifested degrees of both conservatism and openness regarding gender issues and were satisfactorily secure; namely, Nangarhar, Takhar, Bamyan, and Kabul (rural/ urban). The quantitative data were generated through survey questionnaires administered to both young and mature male and female respondents. The data were subsequently analysed with appropriate statistical techniques and coding applied to classify thematic issues and create matrices in the qualitative analysis phase. The qualitative data were obtained from in-depth interviews, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Another tool, a semi-structured community questionnaire, obtained both quantitative and qualitative data.

Mature and young study participants, both male and female, showed similar views of masculinity vis-à-vis normative principles. The quantitative results revealed that men are considered “nan avar,” or the ultimate breadwinner. The greatest degree of consensus came from the conservative province, Nangarhar; then Takhar, Kabul and the less conservative Bamyan followed. The mature group exhibited a greater propensity for cohesion than the younger respondents. Although not significant, results confirmed that Bamyan and Takhar show the moderating effect of education, while Kabul and Nangarhar, which manifest higher educational attainment, exhibit a higher inclination to the idea of men as breadwinner.

A film was created to outline the findings, which you can access here.

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Uploaded on: May 23, 2017
Last Updated: Jun 14, 2017
Year Published: 2016
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