Advocates for change. A qualitative study about Rwandan social work students reflections about gender roles and gender equality
Abstract: The aim of this study is to investigate Rwandan social work students reflections about gender roles and gender equality. This aim was achieved through qualitative, semi-structured, phone interviews with six Rwandan social work students. The interviews were later transcribed, and the data was analysed through a thematic analysis method. This method led to three main themes, Views on gender roles, Change of gender expectations, Responsibility and Obstacles for equality. The themes were analyzed using gender theory framework, focusing on parts of queer theory, gender performativity, gender order and heteronormativity. An intersectional perspective was also added in order to get closer to the core of the study's aim. The results of the research were that the students describe a traditional structure of gender roles in families and society. Expectations of a man and a woman varied based on gender. For example, women were expected to maintain the prime responsibility for household and children, while men were subjected to bring financial support. Secondly, the students all showed a will for, and positive attitude towards, change, in terms of gender equality and equal responsibilities within the home. They also pointed out that things like culture, family values, education and class affected the expectations on gender in the society. Finally, the students presented a broad overview with different understandings for what obstacles exist to achieve gender equality. Things like poor education and deeply rooted norms were highlighted. The results also showed that a lot of the responsibility for equality was placed on the women's table, with expectation to do career, promote equality in home, and at the same time live up to traditional expectations of being a woman, such as being a good wife and mother.
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