- Masculinities and Transition: Enduring Privilege?
There has been significant progress in gender equality globally over recent decades, but embedded structural barriers and patriarchal relations seem to counter progress in other areas – such as unpaid care work, equal pay or women’s access to property – and we have also seen the emergence of ‘backlash’ against women’s empowerment in many settings, in the context of broader resilient or deepening global and local economic inequalities. Whilst much has been learned about work with men in support of gender equality, little research has focused on transition countries. Furthermore, relatively little attention has been paid to what financing initiatives to build gender-equitable, sustainable economies might mean in terms of working with men. For example, the ability of some men to play the ‘breadwinner role’ – a central plank of dominant constructions of masculinity across the world – has been undermined by some aspects of economic development central to globalisation.
Comprised of an introduction to the study and recent changes in the regions, four detailed country chapters and a final chapter of conclusions and recommendations, this report provides nuanced detailed account of the research and its key implications.
This report is based on a study focusing on four countries in different contexts of transition – Egypt, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Ukraine – under the EBRD-funded project ‘Masculinities and Transition: Enduring Privilege?’ The methodology consisted of a literature review combined with primary evidence, gathered through country field visits by four pairs of researchers. The fieldwork sub-teams adopted a common approach to exploring three sectors in each country, following EBRD’s investments (or ‘following the money’), interviewing staff and partners from the Bank’s offices down to firm management and workers at the ‘shop floor’.
Findings include that progress on women’s economic advancement remains constrained by persistent and pervasive gender stereotypes, reinforcing gender segregation at work and the gendered division of labour at home, even though all of the countries are in the midst of transitions to more modern market economies. Indeed, the loss of state welfare service provision or increased job insecurity, among others, have been accompanied by renewed gender traditionalism, perhaps to provide a sense of order amid rapid social and economic change. The study draws implications for complementing women-focused interventions with initiatives to change gender relations, as well as for work directly with men as agents of positive change alongside women.