Challenging and changing gender attitudes among young men in Mumbai, India
Verma,Ravi K.; Pulerwitz,Julie; Mahendra,Vaishali Sharma; Khandekar,Sujata; Barker,Gary; Fulpagare,P.; Singh,S.K.
Reproductive Health Matters 14(28): 135-143
Publication date: 2006
This article presents findings from a pilot intervention in 2005-6 to promote gender equity among young men from low-income communities in Mumbai, India. The project involved formative work on gender, sexuality and masculinity, and educational activities with 126 young men, aged 18-29, over a six-month period. The programme of activities was called Yari-dosti, which is Hindi for friendship or bonding among men, and was adapted from a Brazilian intervention. Pre- and post-intervention surveys, including measures of attitudes towards gender norms using the Gender Equitable Men (GEM) Scale and other key outcomes, qualitative interviews with 31 participants, monitoring and observations were used as evaluation tools. Almost all the young men actively participated in the activities and appreciated the intervention. It was often the first time they had had the opportunity to discuss and reflect on these issues. The interviews showed that attitudes towards gender and sexuality, as reported behaviour in relationships, had often changed. A survey two months later also showed a significant decrease in support for inequitable gender norms and sexual harassment of girls and women. The results suggest that the pilot was successful in reaching and engaging young men to critically discuss gender dynamics and health risk, and in shifting key gender-related attitudes.