The ‘doing’ and ‘undoing’ of male household decision-making and economic authority in Rwanda and its implications for gender transformative programming

Stern, Erin, Heise, Lori and McLean, Lyndsay (2018) The ‘doing’ and ‘undoing’ of male household decision-making and economic authority in Rwanda and its implications for gender transformative programming. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 20 (9). pp. 976-991. ISSN 1369-1058

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Abstract

This paper explores two key norms that can underpin intimate partner violence (IPV) in Rwanda: men’s role as economic provider and decision-making authority in the household. It describes the political, legal and socio-economic factors affecting these norms and how they create opportunities and barriers to ‘undoing’ restrictive gender norms. The findings are drawn from an evaluation of Inadshyikirwa, an IPV prevention programme operating in Rwanda. Across 3 intervention sectors, 24 focus groups were conducted with unmarried and married men and women residing in intervention communities. 30 interviews with couples and 9 interviews with opinion leaders were conducted before they completed programme trainings designed to shift gender norms underlying IPV. The data indicates a strong awareness of and accountability to Rwandan laws and policies supporting women’s economic empowerment and decision-making, yet also persisting traditional notions of men as household heads and primary breadwinners. Transgression of these norms could be accommodated in some circumstances, especially those involving economic necessity. The data also identified an increasing recognition of the value of a more equitable partnership model. This paper highlights the importance of carefully assessing cracks in the existing gender order that can be exploited to support gender equality and non-violence.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2017 09:39
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2018 12:40
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/72074

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Impact Evaluation of Indashyikirwa: A community-level programme to prevent gender violence in RwandaG2186DfiD via Social Development Direct LtdUnset