Baseline Study: 2013 Research Study—Young Gender Equitable Men?

Final Report CoverResearch Study by Monash University staff and UNTL (National Uni Timor-Leste) staff

  • survey of 500 young men using GEM Scale in rural and urban TL informed by focus groups and qualitative interviews
  • how young East Timorese men think about the roles of men and women in contemporary Timorese society and what they expect in their intimate or spousal relationships.
  • Informants described significant changes to gender roles and relationships in the emerging nation and continuing pressure for further change.
  • More gender equitable principles are promoted by the local women’s movement and international agencies and have been introduced into the new nation’s government policies.
  • While broadly accepted publicly these new values are often superficially held and families and communities find it difficult to implement these new concepts at the household and community level. Many local people interviewed presented the new values as foreign to local culture and as a result of ‘globalisation’.

Key Findings of 2013 Survey

  1. new ideas about gender equality introduced nationally—most young men accepted general statements about gender equity;
  2. Given specific details: young men still expect power and control over women within their families;
  3. Declining gender equitable attitudes with age, education, environment; Young men’s perceptions of gender relations and gendered violence in Timor-Leste”
  4. The dominant form of masculinity that was expressed was tough, aggressive, virile and heterosexual.
  5. Great variation and confusion about level of physical abuse tolerated but generally acceptance of physical abuse toward women if they do no fulfil traditional roles;
  6. Persistent blaming of women for the violence perpetrated against them by men;

Recommendations: culturally appropriate programs which clearly define domestic and other violence against women and positively influence men’s attitudes to gender equality and intimate partner relations in schools and other arenas as a priority.

For more information please see full report.


A new study of masculinities in Timor-Leste

Masculinity and links to gender inequality and violence in Timor-Leste & Indonesia.