Masculinity, Son Preference and Intimate Partner Violence (India)

Publication Author: 
International Center for Research on Women
November 2013
Masculinity Study_WEB Version.pdf700.06 KB


In order to delve into the area of masculinities and son preference deeper, ICRW in partnership with UNFPA have conducted a study on men’s attitudes around son preference in seven states of India. The study looks at men’s attitudes and practices around gender inequality, son preference, and gender based violence. The objective is to understand predictors of masculinities and how varying forms of masculinity aff ect men’s desire for sons and their perpetration of violence against their intimate partners.

The study confirms that masculinity is a critical determinant of son preference and it needs to be understood in its complexities of men’s experiences of childhood discrimination, their perpetration of violence and gender expectations that are triggered by their economic role as providers. Masculinity is not only about attitudes but also includes how men behave to ensure their place in society, that in turn is shaped 
by gender relations that exist in their context. Th e study reinforces the fi nding that men can and do have an infl uence and need to be treated as a part of the solution to gender inequality.
In developing more focused programs and policies on masculinity and gender equality, we must highlight what people actually do, not only what is expected or imagined. Policy that builds men’s confi dence to behave diff erently, and teaches men diff erent ways to empower themselves, can help in reducing the perpetuation of forms of traditional masculinity and behaviors like violence against women. Thus boys and men can be very effective change actors for gender equality.
To read the full report, click here or download the pdf.