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To cook, or not to cook: An exploratory study of persistent gender roles
Södertörn University, School of Life Sciences.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Despite significant progress in increasing female participation in national politics, Tanzanian households are still predominately run by men. Gender norms which define women as houseworkers and men as providers continue to pervade widespread notions that put a heavy burden on the backs of women and hinder an equal division of household labor, regardless of women’s employment situation. Although often disfavored in this patriarchal structure, research has found that women sometimes desire men to adapt to a role that further establishes these norms.

This study examined how women and men in Babati town construct masculinities and the male role in romantic relationships, and how officially contested gender roles persist. Primary data was collected through qualitative interviews and focus groups with primarily highly educated married women and men in Babati town. The data was analyzed using a theoretical framework based on masculinities in gender relations and African notions of feminism. Moreover, explanations and rationalizations of gender inequality were deconstructed and categorized in a content-oriented analysis to explicate the resilience of dominant ideologies.

The study found that men are expected to have a job and to make sure that the basic needs of the family are met. Most men did not construct ideal masculinity as mutually exclusive to cooking and cleaning, and neither did any woman. However, men often exempted themselves from household labor by arguing that African culture does not allow men to cook and clean unless the wife is sick or otherwise incapacitated. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 57 p.
Keyword [en]
hegemonic masculinity, gender equality, patriarchy, African feminism, Babati
National Category
Other Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-16697OAI: diva2:537740
Subject / course
Development and International Cooperation
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-06-27 Created: 2012-06-27 Last updated: 2012-06-27Bibliographically approved

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