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Men’s experience of women’s empowerment and gender equality: A phenomenological study in Kerala, India

Publication Type : Journal Article

Source : Global Social Welfare

Url :

Campus : Faridabad

Year : 2023

Abstract : One of the more significant challenges toward achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is in overcoming the resistance of other members in the community, especially men, to social change. So often, men have stood as the gatekeepers of such change as they hold positions of authority and control over both public and domestic spaces. Men therefore have abundant influence on gender norms, and by extension on the measure of success of a women’s empowerment intervention. Unfortunately, conventional program strategies have not accounted for men’s support or rejection of new social behaviors, nor included mechanisms to inspire positive changes in men as well as empower women. This is largely because there is a lack of research on how men perceive women’s empowerment, how these perceptions form, and the factors that influence a decision-making calculus in determining whether or not men will support such social changes. This paper takes up this issue and presents the findings of a descriptive phenomenological study of the experiences of men whose wives recently graduated from a women’s empowerment project. The structure of their experience is explored using phenomenological analysis methods, and a set of important themes are defined that can be used to improve future interventions in a similar context. Notable themes identified include men’s ability to acknowledge injustices faced by women and the level of understanding of and beliefs around women's role in society. This approach is a promising practice that can serve other contexts where similar challenges are faced.

Cite this Research Publication : Coley, C., Sheshadri, S., Devanathan, S. (2023). Men’s experience of women’s empowerment and gender equality: A phenomenological study in Kerala, India. Global Social Welfare, 10, 105-116. DOI: 10.1007/s40609-022-00262-7.

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