What shapes attitudes on gender roles among adolescents in Bangladesh

What shapes attitudes on gender roles among adolescents in Bangladesh
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Citation: Streatfield AJ, Rahman MM, Khan S, Haider MM, Rahman M, Nahar Q and Jamil K (2023) What shapes attitudes on gender roles among adolescents in Bangladesh. Front. Public Health 11:1121858. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1121858

Background: In Bangladesh, large gender differentials exist in outcomes in almost all spheres of life, stemming from conservative norms and attitudes around gender. Adolescence is a crucial period for social-emotional learning that can shape gender norms and attitudes.

Objective: The aim of the paper is to investigate the extent to which adolescents hold egalitarian attitudes toward gender roles, and to examine the factors that influence egalitarian gender attitudes.

Methods: The paper uses data from a nationally representative sample survey of 7,800 unmarried girls and 5,523 unmarried boys ages 15–19 years. Adolescents were considered to have egalitarian attitudes on gender role if they disagreed with all the following four unequal gender role statements with regards to socio-economic participation, while respondents who agreed with any one of the four statements were considered to have non-egalitarian attitudes: (1) It is important that sons have more education than daughters, (2) Outdoor games are only for boys, not girls, (3) Household chores are for women only, not for men, even if the woman works outside the home, and (4) Women should not be allowed to work outside the home. Multivariable linear probability regression analysis was implemented to identify the factors shaping attitudes on gender roles.

Results: Unmarried girls and boys differ hugely in their views on gender roles regarding socio economic participation-girls were much more egalitarian than boys (58 vs. 19%). The multivariate linear probability model results show girls and boys who completed at least grade 10 were 31% points and 15% points more likely to have egalitarian views on gender roles respectively, compared to girls and boys with primary or less education. Having strong connection with parents is associated with having egalitarian views on gender roles among girls but not boys. Adolescents' individual attitude on gender role is highly associated with the views of their community peers for both girls and boys. Girls and boys who had participated in adolescent programs were 6–7% points more likely to have egalitarian attitude than those who were not exposed to these programs. Egalitarian views were also significantly higher, by 5% points among girls and 6% points among boys, who were members of social organizations compared to those who were not. Watching television had positive influence on egalitarian attitudes among girls but not among boys. To create a more egalitarian society, both men and women need to hold progressive attitudes toward gender roles. The interventions must be multilevel, influencing adolescents at the personal, interpersonal, communal, and societal levels.

Shortname: JA-23-291 D4I
Author(s): Avita J. Streatfield, Md Mahabubur Rahman, Shusmita Khan, M. Moinuddin Haider, Mizanur Rahman, Quamrun Nahar, and Kanta Jamil
Year: 2023
Language: English