What is the cost of being a man? An analysis of social and health consequences of masculinity in Nigeria

Clifford O. Odimegwu, University of the Witwatersrand
Christian Okemgbo, Obafemi Awolowo University
Saseendran Pallikadavath, University of Southampton

This research presents findings from a recent pilot study focusing on men's perceptions of gender-role ideologies and their sexual and reproductive health. The study was intended to identify the social and health costs of gender inequities, and to examine the knowledge of men about these costs. Data from adolescent and adult men aged 12 and 75 were collected between April and June 2003 using both quantitative survey interviews (N=1,300) and qualitative techniques such as focus group discussion (N=20),in-depth interviews (N=10)and key informant interviews (N=5) in selected pars of South Eastern Nigeria. We collected data on basic socio-demographic variables, attitudinal questions on gender role ideologies, sexuality issues, HIV/AIDS knowledge, awareness and practices. Our analysis shows that there are social and health costs associated with adherence to masculine ideologies among the Igbo of Nigeria. Men are aware of these costs and are amenable to change behaviours that promote inequities. Implications of findings on reproductive health programmes is highlighted.

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Presented in Session 110: Male fertility and sexual behaviour