Book of the Month

Understanding Masculinities

Results from the International Men
and Gender Equality Survey
(IMAGES) – Palestine

By Promundo and
UN Women Regional Programme:
Men and Women for Gender Equality

In coordination with the Institute of Women’s Studies, Birzeit University
Funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
Available free of charge at www.imagesmena.org

The International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) in the MENA region has been designed and conducted to help fill the knowledge gap in research on men’s attitudes and practices in terms of their partner relationships and their perspectives on gender equality. IMAGES–Palestine is an integral part of the IMAGES MENA study that was conducted in coordination with a local partner – the Institute of Women’s Studies at Birzeit University. Its wealth of quantitative and qualitative findings complements a growing body of research on men and masculinities in Palestine.

The IMAGES-Palestine survey consists of a sample of 2,399 respondents (1,200 men and 1,199 women) from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, representing urban, rural, and refugee camp residents. The age group interviewed was between 18 and 59 years old. The study examines men’s – and women’s – attitudes and practices related to a range of key issues, including support for gender equality, support for women’s rights policies, household decision-making, use of various forms of gender-based violence (GBV), men’s participation in caregiving and domestic chores, gendered health vulnerabilities, employment-related stress, physical security and adverse life conditions, and childhood, among others.

The findings of IMAGES-Palestine show that there are many signs of more equitable views among men and women on their roles in the household. For instance, some three-quarters of women and half of men agree that a married woman should have the same right as her husband to work outside the home. Most respondents of both genders reject the idea that it is more important to educate boys than girls when resources are scarce, as one among other signs of equitable views in Palestine. In practice, there are also many men who participate in commonly feminine household work, as well as sharing decision-making authority with women. Fewer than 20 percent of men and women think that it is shameful for men to engage in caring for children or other domestic work.

The research findings indicate that there is strong agreement among men and women that gender equality has not been achieved in Palestine. The study recommends that progressive Palestinian men who hold positive gender attitudes – including faith-based and community leaders – be encouraged to join the gender justice struggle in Palestine. This also emphasizes the importance of encouraging fathers to engage in child-rearing and caregiving roles as effective ways of changing behaviors of sons and daughters. The study also recommends working with media to promote positive models of masculinities in Palestine and empowering youth as agents of change.

This month’s issue Discover Palestine: Hiking Trails and Alternative Tours