Attitude towards gender roles and violence against women and girls (VAWG): Baseline findings from an RCT of 1752 youths in Pakistan

Tazeen Saeed Ali, Rozina Karmaliani, Judith Mcfarlane, Hussain M.A. Khuwaja, Yasmeen Somani, Esnat D. Chirwa, Rachel Jewkes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Violence against women is driven by gender norms that normalize and justify gender inequality and violence. Gender norms are substantially shaped during adolescence. Programs offered through schools offer an opportunity to influence gender attitudes toward gender equity if we understand these to be partly shaped by peers and the school environment. Objective: We present an analysis of the baseline research conducted for a randomized controlled trial with 1752 grade 6 boys and girls and their attitudes toward gender roles, VAWG, and associated factors. Methods: We used baseline data from a cluster randomised control study. Interviews were conducted in 40 public schools in Hyderabad, with 25–65 children per school. Questions were asked about attitudes toward gender roles, peer-to-peer perpetration, and victimization experiences, and family life, including father- or in-law-to- mother violence and food security. Multiple regression models were built of factors associated with gender attitudes for boys and girls. Results: Our result have shown youth attitudes endorsing patriarchal gender beliefs were higher for boys, compared to girls. The multiple regression model showed that for boys, patriarchal gender attitudes were positively associated with hunger, depression, being promised already in marriage, and being a victim and/or perpetrator of peer violence. For girls gender attitudes were associated with hunger, experiencing corporal punishment at home, and being a perpetrator (for some, and victim) of peer violence. Conclusion: Youth patriarchal attitudes are closely related to their experience of violence at school and for girl's physical punishment, at home and for boys being promised in early marriage. We suggest that these variables are indicators of gender norms among peers and in the family. The significance of peer norms is that it provides the possibility that school-based interventions which work with school peers have the potential to positively impact youth patriarchal gender attitudes and foster attitudes of gender equality and respect, and potentially to decrease youth victimization and perpetration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1342454
JournalGlobal Health Action
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Gender norms
  • Gender roles
  • Violence against women and girls (VAWG)
  • Youth perpetration
  • Youth victimization


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