Gender equitable boys in a gender inequitable world: reflections from qualitative research and program development with young men in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This article offers insights from a qualitative study with a group of more ‘gender equitable’ heterosexual young men in a low-income setting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and considers the implications for working with boys to promote gender equity, including increased attention to sexual health. Research consisted of interviews and interactions with 25 young men aged 15-21 who are more gender equitable than the prevailing norms in the community. The study identified an important minority of young men who demonstrated a higher degree of gender equitable behaviour and attitudes in their interactions with young women than did most of their peers and adult men in the same setting. Factors associated with being more gender equitable include: reflecting about the ‘costs’ of traditional versions of masculinity, constructing a coherent life narrative of themselves as different from most men around them, finding a coherent identity by having a skill, competency or meaningful connection to a…

Author: Gary Barker

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