New Report: Survey Finds Negative Attitudes Towards Gender Equality in the Middle East, Including Among Young People
Thursday, May 4, 2017 3:50 PM

A recent survey of thousands of people in the Middle East and North Africa found that as many as three-quarters of men and nearly half of women do not believe in full equality for women. This includes the belief that men should have priority access to jobs and that women’s primary role should be caring for a husband and children. Additionally, most men surveyed “expected to control their wives' freedoms,” including what clothes they wear. The study also looked at the prevalence of violence against women, finding 40 to 60 percent of women had experienced public sexual harassment, or street harassment. Survey respondents also admitted to fairly high rates of domestic violence, with forty-five percent of Egyptian men saying “they had been violent towards their wife.” The report’s authors said they were surprised that many younger men shared similar negative views towards gender equality as older men, which the authors attributed to economic stagnation and a “’general climate’ of religious conservatism.” They viewed as positive the significant minority of men who supported women’s rights and equality.

UN Women and the organization Promundo produced the survey, called “Understanding Masculinities: Results from the International Men and Gender Equality Study (IMAGES) in the Middle East and North Africa.” The authors interviewed men and women in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories.

Compiled from: Kanso, Heba, Men in the Middle East slow to embrace gender equality - study, Thomson Reuters Foundation News (May 2, 2017); Only one in four Middle East men backs equality, study suggests, BBC News (May 2, 2017).