Extremely high levels of violence and HIV/Aids have been documented in South Africa. Research has also demonstrated the ways in which particular notions of masculinity and femininity are intertwined with practices of violence and sexual risk. In particular, men and boys’ adherence to versions of masculinity that privilege dominance, physical strength and high sexual activity and girls’ and womens’ enactment of submissive and soft versions of femininity have been linked to these social epidemics (Bhana, Nzimakwe & Nzimakwe, 2011; Jewkes & Morrell, 2010; Pattman, 2005). The family has been identified as an important site in which normative notions of gender are enacted; and therefore, through which children learn about gender. In light of this, a study was conducted to examine the ways in which problematic notions of gender are being (re)produced within families, as well as the ways in which these notions are being challenged. Emerging from this study, this policy brief draws key insights and recommendations on promoting gender equality in families.
Equality begins at home: Disrupting violence within the South African context (framing document).