Between June 2010 and February 2011, World Bank teams travelled to 19 countries from 6 developing regions to hear first-hand about how men and women experience gender in their everyday lives. The researchers met separately with small groups of males and females from three generations, convening a total of 500 groups with 4,000 individuals.
This field research showed that women and men from all age groups, incomes, and locations see education, the ownership of assets, access to economic opportunities, and opportunities to earn an income as the keys to improving their well-being and that of their families. Women’s and men’s roles and responsibilities in private and public spheres were identified — with women’s tasks being largely associated with family care and home production, and men’s with income generation and decision making.
But differences across generations clearly show that these roles are being redefined in a world that offers new opportunities and demands for both men and women. The findings also show that old problems persist in new settings even as new challenges are emerging. Many groups face pervasive disadvantages—for them, change remains an aspiration for future generations but not a reality in their everyday lives.
“I see some women being beaten by their husband every day and they are there. When you talk to them, they say they are married and they cannot separate. These women will never climb the ladder; they will stay at the bottom.”
“Men are affected more than women [by unemployment], which leads to frustration and family problems and, in some cases, leads to violence by men against women and children, and may lead to illness.”
“Boys can be as free as they wish and that is alright. Girls cannot go out in the evening. Boys can go anywhere they wish.”