Understanding Masculinities. Results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) – Middle East and North Africa
The International Men and Gender Equality Survey – Middle East and North Africa (IMAGES MENA) is the first study of its kind in the MENA region to take a wide-angle, comparative lens to the lives of men – as sons and husbands and fathers, at home and at work, in public and private life – to better understand how they see their positions as men, and their attitudes and actions toward gender equality. Equally important, IMAGES provides women’s perspectives on these same issues. Its wealth of quantitative and qualitative findings (a portion of which are included in this report, and are also presented in greater detail in separately published companion country reports) complements a growing body of research on men and masculinities in the MENA region.
The results of IMAGES MENA cut through the stereotypes and prejudices that too often obscure the complexity of dynamic gender identities and relations in the region. The
four countries included in this first phase of IMAGES MENA – Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine – are diverse, each presenting a particular political, economic, and social context that is central to the country-specific analyses presented in the multi-country report. The study results are strengthened by this diversity, and they show a rich variety, both across and within countries, of men’s and women’s perspectives on the ways in which gender roles and women’s rights are changing in their own lives and in the wider world around them.
A majority of the men surveyed in the four countries support a wide array of inequitable, traditional attitudes. However, a sizeable minority – a quarter or more of the men surveyed in every country – show support for at least some dimensions of women’s equality and empowerment. These men question violence against women, agree with certain laws that safeguard women’s rights, support women in leadership positions, and often want to spend more time caring for their children. Many men who were interviewed, and many women as well, showed a mixture of equitable and inequitable attitudes and practices. However, too many men in the region continue to uphold norms that perpetuate violence against women or confine women to conventional roles, and they act on these attitudes in ways that cause harm to women, children, and themselves. There is a long and winding road that must be travelled before most men – and many women, too – reach full acceptance of gender equality in all domains.