Changing the Gendered Mindset - A Qualitative Study on Engaging Young Men in Mumbai to Achieve Gender Equality

University essay from Malmö universitet/Fakulteten för hälsa och samhälle (HS)

Abstract: As gender-based discrimination and violence against women continues to be a critical human rights issue across the world there is a growing demand of engaging men in transforming the relations, norms and the inequal social structures. Even though there are many laws and policies in place to protect women’s rights they are poorly implemented due to the fact that society and social institutions do not fundamentally support them. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate how interviewed male college students describe their experiences of participating in a one-year program led by the non-governmental organisation called Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA), based in Mumbai, India. Focus has been on the training program seen from the participating students’ perspective and in what way they perceive it has had an impact on their view of gender-based discriminations, equality and patriarchal norms in society. The collected data has been analysed through the theory of patriarchy and gender socialization. The results of the study show that, even though the program has been successful in their goal to change the participants mindset to some extent, the main visible change seem to have been on the students interpersonal skills. The interviewed students report an awareness of gender-based issues in society but also a change on a personal level such as a developed confidence and communication skills. Methods like interactive sessions and street-plays as well as being exposed to new environments, are recurrently expressed to have been positive and beneficial experiences. Another finding is the belief that gender-norms and behaviour are deep-rooted in society. Therefore to change the mindset and changing the norms is a slow process and something that will take time.

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