A study has found that only one in four men in the Arab World and the Middle East believes in equality between genders.
The study, undertaken by the International Men and Gender Equality Study in the Middle East and North Africa (IMAGES MENA), revealed that young men in the Arab world are as conservatives as their fathers.
The survey was conducted on nearly 10,000 individuals, both men and women from Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and Palestine; their ages ranged between 18 and 59. The vast majority of them held conservative views regarding women, believing that they are not capable of being leaders and belong in their houses. They also believe that education is important for boys more than girls.
The opinions of the majority of women interviewed were in line with their male counterparts; they agreed that their most important duty is at their houses.
The study also revealed that in some Arab countries, up to 90 percent of men believe that they have the right to control women’s clothes and how often they should have sex.
The majority of men who agreed to have a female boss, however, believed that it shouldn’t alter the fact that men should still be the breadwinners and women can work as long as it doesn’t have a negative effect on their family duties. They have also shown a low progressive attitude towards women having the final word regarding decisions made at home.
According to the study, the males’ view could be a result of the economic turmoil that usually leaves young men struggling to find jobs and unemployed, so they feel not empowered. Unemployment was cited several times as the reason behind the conservative views.
High rates of domestic violence were also revealed by the study, about 45 percent of men show violent attitude towards their spouses. More than half of the surveyed men believed that women deserve to be beaten sometimes.
Women were not so different, they also didn’t show progressive attitudes towards their social and economic rights. However, young women were more to defend their rights and equality compared to older women.
In Egypt, findings of the study show that the patriarchy is alive and well, in both public and private life. Both men and women, on the whole, hold inequitable attitudes about the rights and responsibilities of women compared with those of men.
In Morocco, it showed vast gap between public and private perspectives. “Masculinity and the patriarchal mindset. It affects men, as well, because the norms or the roles assigned to each sex, at the heart of society, are disadvantageous,” according to the study.
In Lebanon, the study showed some levels of support of gender equality. Also, many male respondents report putting more equitable ideas into practice.
In Palestine, findings indicate that the division of labour in the household still reflects inequitable, gendered power relationships.
“This inequitable division of housework puts a greater burden on women, hindering their involvement in societal or political issues and maintaining their marginal position within the family and society,” according to the study.