Changing gender roles and male disempowerment in rural and urban East Africa: a neglected dimension in the study of sexual and reproductive behaviour in East Africa

This paper pursues four arguments that are based on research by this author over more than one decade in rural and urban east Africa. First, socioeconomic change in rural and urban East Africa has increasingly disempowered men. Second, this has resulted in men’s lack of social value and self-esteem. Third, with unemployment and incapable of fulfilling social roles and expectations, male identity and self-esteem have increasingly become linked to sexuality and sexual manifestations. Fourth, in their frustrated situation, multi-partnered sexual relationships and sexually aggressive behaviour seem to have become essential to strengthen masculinity and self-esteem.

Author:Margrethe Silberschmidt

Institutional Sponsor: Institute of Public Health, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen

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