Shifting and transforming gender-inequitable beliefs, behaviours and norms in intimate partnerships: the Indashyikirwa couples programme in Rwanda

McLean, Lyndsay, Heise, Lori L and Stern, Erin A (2019) Shifting and transforming gender-inequitable beliefs, behaviours and norms in intimate partnerships: the Indashyikirwa couples programme in Rwanda. Culture, Health and Sexuality. ISSN 1369-1058

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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between changes in individual beliefs and behaviours, couple relationship dynamics and gender norms – and how interventions can influence these. It draws on longitudinal qualitative research with heterosexual couples who participated in the Indashyikirwa programme in Rwanda. The couples followed a curriculum designed to improve relationship skills and reduce the gender-inequitable beliefs, behaviours and norms that underpin intimate partner violence. Qualitative findings show that the programme resulted in moderate, but significant, positive ‘shifts’ in individual beliefs and behaviours, couple relationship dynamics and levels of inequality - increasing men’s engagement in domestic duties, women’s participation in household decision making, and women’s access to economic resources. They also suggest which parts of the couples’ curriculum were most effective in catalysing these changes. However, the data also show that these ‘shifts’ occurred without fully transforming deeply-entrenched beliefs and norms around gender roles and male authority over economic resources. The paper suggests that the persistence of these beliefs and norms constrained the extent of changes among couples – and could potentially constrain their longevity and act as an obstacle to longer-term, larger-scale changes in gender inequalities and violence.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
School of Global Studies > International Development
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2019 10:57
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2019 11:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/87902

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls ProgrammeG2186DFIDUnset