Pakistan currently ranks 143rd out of 144 countries on the 2016 Global Gender Gap Index, with women lagging far behind men in terms of economic opportunities, education, health and political participation. Key findings from the new pak-IMAGES report confirm deep-rooted gender inequality and gender-based violence across Pakistan. 59% of women reported experiencing spousal violence, with 50% of men reported to have perpetrated it. More than three-quarters of married men and women agree that women should tolerate violence to keep the family together. Remarkably, younger men have less gender equitable norms compared to older men.
Other findings from the research are more encouraging. 79% of men report accompanying their wives to antenatal visits and over 70% are present during child birth. 73% of men think men and women should decide jointly about the use of contraceptive. Furthermore, high proportions of both men and women recognise that traditional practices like forced and exchange marriages are harmful to women and girls. 42% of men favour more pro-women laws.
“This is the first research of its kind and it gives us useful insight into men’s perception of gender-based violence,” says Rubina Ali, Executive Director at Rutgers Pakistan Office. “We’re happy that the Pakistani federal Ministry of Human Rights have expressed interest in benefiting from the results of the study.”
“The Prevention+ programme engages men and boys in addressing the root causes of gender-based violence across five countries, including Pakistan,” says Programme Manager Ruth van Zorge. “These results confirm that there is still a lot of work to be done. However, the fact that 28% of young married men, and 23% of young unmarried men, show highly equitable attitudes, gives us a valuable entry point.”.
Based on the new insights into men and gender equality in Pakistan, the pak-IMAGES report shares six recommendations to be directed at all levels, individual, community and society. They should be undertaken by all relevant stakeholders, such as government, civil society, religious leaders and the media.
- Stereotypes around the concept of masculinity need to be changed by educating men, women and communities on women’s rights and how they are infringed upon by rigid gender norms and roles.
- Engage men to become more responsible and gender-sensitive husbands and fathers.
- At all levels of society equitable gender attitudes should be promoted. Education and mass media have an important role to play here.
- Make the health sector, legal system and local police more responsive to women facing gender-based violence. Inter-sectoral linkages should be established to streamline survivors’ access to medical care, medico-legal services, psycho-social counselling and rehabilitation services.
- Enforce and spread awareness about laws that protect men and women from violence.
- Monitor the prevalence of gender-based violence and evaluate the interventions.
The International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) is one of the most comprehensive household studies ever carried out on men’s and women’s attitudes and practices on a wide variety of topics related to gender equality. Promundo and International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) created IMAGES in 2008. As of 2017, IMAGES studies had been carried out in more than 20 countries around the world. The pak-Images study was conducted as part of the Prevention+ programme in conjunction with Rutgers Pakistan, Population Council, Rozan and the Ministry of Human Rights.