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MEN AND GENDER EQUALITY IN CROATIA

Results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES)

 

International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) is a part of the Men and Gender Equality Policy Project led by Instituto Promundo and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). IMAGES is a quantitative survey carried out with men and women in six countries in 2009-2010. Participating countries were: Brazil, Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico and Rwanda.

Research in Croatia was conducted using a sample of 1500 men and 505 women aged from 18-68, in the Republic of Croatia in the city of Zagreb and the cities and villages (< 100 000 inhabitants) in the Osječko-baranjska and Vukovarsko-srijemska county. Most of the men and women are either married or living with their partners, they have graduated from high-school and consider themselves religious.

 

Gender equality –in attitudes but not in behaviour

When it comes to the attitudes most men support gender equality but are less supportive when it comes to behaviour (practices). Most men do not support the use of violence, do not consider housework and childcare to be the responsibility of a woman, do not feel that male sexuality is more important than female sexuality and support joint decision-making concerning contraception. For example, 71% of men do not agree with the statement that changing diapers, bathing, and feeding the children are the responsibility of the mother, 68% does not agree that men need sex more than women, and 94% does not agree with the statement that women should tolerate violence in order to keep the family together.

In that sense as far as attitudes are concerned  most men, 77%, fall into the category of men holding high equity gender-related attitudes, 15% of them are in the category of  moderate gender equitable attitudes, while 3% are in the category of the low equity. At the same time, 2/3 of men believe that being a man means having to be tough and claim that if somebody offends them they will defend their reputation even by resorting to force, in other words they are expressing attitudes that enforce the stereotypical male gender role and its characteristics such as courage, strength and invulnerability.

Younger, more educated men and those in a higher salary grades are more likely to have most gender equitable attitudes.

Half of the men (53%) did not go on paternity leave when their child was born and somewhat less than a fifth of men (approximately 17%) was present at the birth of the child. Younger and more educated men were more likely to attend the birth and to request paternity leave. Men who express gender-equitable attitudes are less likely to use physical and sexual violence against their partner, and are less inclined to be the perpetrators of sexual violence as a part of a male group. In contrast, men holding most inequitable attitudes are more inclined to use sexual favours, to have homophobic attitudes and to exhibit risk behaviour (participating in fights, thefts and gangs).

 

High level of homophobia

Somewhat more than half the men feel that homosexuality is not normal and almost 2/3 of them would not allow homosexuals to work with children. The most controversial was the issue of adopting children by homosexual couples where 4/5 of respondents opposed it. Although they have very homophobic attitudes, the respondents mostly do not justify the use of violence against homosexual men.

 

Household duties and childcare – unequal division of labour

When it comes to attitudes, men support gender equality, but when it comes to behaviour and practices, especially in the sphere of housework and childcare, we cannot claim there is an equal division of labour. The division of housework is an area in which gender-stereotyped division of labour is in place. The only chores that men claim that they perform together with women are grocery shopping (60% of cases), while all the other tasks are performed either mostly by women or by men. The burden of housework still falls on the women's shoulders, because the women are left with the chores that have to be performed almost daily, as for example preparing food, (60%), cleaning (71%), washing (80%), while men are left with more sporadic chores such as fixing things  (84%) and paying the bills (41%). Most men are content with this distribution of chores and estimate that their partners are satisfied too.

Women have a different perception of housework then men. They claim that together with their partner they perform chores such as buying food, cleaning the house and paying the bills. However, if they are not performed jointly, then those chores are mostly left up to the women. The only task that women estimate as being mostly up to the men is house repairs (in 72% of cases).

Younger men (up to 35 years of age), more educated, and unemployed participate in housework more frequently.

As far as the division of childcare tasks goes, men claim that most of the work concerning childcare is performed together with their partner. Approximately 55% of men claim that, together with their partner, they care for children on daily basis.  However, when they are not preformed together, these activities become gender specific, and therefore taking care of the children on everyday basis becomes overwhelmingly a woman's responsibility, while picking up the child from school/kindergarten/extracurricular activities is the man's responsibility. According to the women's estimates, not a single activity related to childcare is a man's responsibility. The activities related to childcare, if not performed together, are mostly, the responsibility and the task of the woman.

Men are occasionally included in the lives of their young children (up to 5 years of age). The only activity that men perform on daily basis is playing with children, while all the rest they do occasionally, in the sense that they occasionally prepare food, change diapers and bathe the children. When it comes to schoolchildren, the situation is similar, which means men perform most of the activities related to childcare irregularly. Around 1/5 of men (and less) state that they care for the children on daily basis, which means they play with them daily (26%), help with homework (14%), prepare food for the children (12%). More educated men and those with a higher income are more likely to participate in childcare. The perception of most of the women is that they see their partner as helper in childcare. Therefore 72% of women estimate that they spend more time in dealing with the family and the household than their partner.

As far as decision making in the household is concerned, men estimate that in their families the decisions are made together with their partner. However, if the decision is not made together, then the investments related to food and clothes are the decision of the woman, while bigger investment (such as a house, a car, or household appliances) is the decision of the man. Women, just like men, identically estimated the decision-making in the household.

 

Economic stress – the unsustainability of the male provider role

56% of men feel that they have the largest responsibility, in the family, when it comes to earning, which indicates a traditional understanding of the male role as the family provider. Approximately half of the respondent's reported feeling stressed because of not having enough income.

Men who experience stress at work, manifesting as worrying about inadequate income, are more inclined to use physical violence against their partner. This means that the situation in which men experience economic stress can contribute to the use of violence, but does not mean that economic stress causes violence. Also, men that experience stress due to insufficient income are more inclined to state that sometimes they feel depressed and have suicidal thoughts.  

 

Sexuality – more equality, higher level of sexual satisfaction in the relationship

Around 73% men have a stable partner and almost an equal percentage is living with their partner. Approximately 42% of men describe the sexual relationship with their partner as satisfactory, while 6% of them estimate their relationship as unsatisfactory. Men who reported more gender-equitable attitudes are content with their sexual relationship with their partner. Men who say that during the past month they talked to their partner about their problems are more satisfied with the sexual relationship with their partner. Most of the men state that they communicate with their partner about the problems that they face in life, while younger and more educated men are more likely to communicate with their partner.

Around half of the men (51%), negatively answer the question of using the condom during the past year. Men that consider themselves to be religious are more inclined to not use or occasionally use a condom.

Men that report stress at work are more inclined to evaluate their sexual relation ship with their partner as unsatisfactory, and are more inclined to use sexual services. Using sexual services is more common with men that express dissatisfaction with their sexual relationship with current partner.

11% of men had a sexual relationship with a woman who provides sexual services. Older men (above 35 years) as well as men of the lowest education level and men with the middle and higher income level are more inclined to use sexual services.

At the level of attitudes, most men feel that providing sexual services is morally wrong or problematic, but at the same time they see it as a job and a personal choice of the person concerned. However, 68% of men feel that it should not be illegal to purchase or provide sexual services. When it is a minor providing sexual services our respondents have less approving attitudes then when it is an adult.

Approximately 19% men state that they have provided certain goods or services (for example food, clothes, rent, schooling or transport) in return for sex. Younger men (25-34 years), employed, and less educated have the experience of exchanging certain goods or services for sex.

 

Violence against women – more equality less violence against women  

84% of men have experienced peer violence in school or neighbourhood, whether as a perpetrator or as a victim. While growing-up approximately 70% of men experience physical violence, and 33% emotional violence. Approximately 16% of men report witnessing family violence.

In the age of growing up somewhat more than half the men committed violence against women, for example verbal or sexual violence. 64.2% men state that they addressed girls at school with sexual comments or that they touched them.

73% of men feel that the law that regulates violence against women is not harsh enough. 77% men were exposed to media campaigns related to the prevention of violence against women.

32.7% of men have been physically violent towards their partner. The factors that have been identified as related with the use of violence by men are age, economic stress, gender-unequal attitudes, the possession of weapons and consuming alcohol. Older men and those who experience economic stress, but also men that possess weapons are more inclined to use physical violence against their partner. Frequent alcohol consumption was related to the use of physical violence against the partner, or rather, men who often[1] consume alcohol are more inclined to use physical violence against their partner. It is also important to emphasise that these factors are not the causes of violence but are rather, related to the use of violence.

Sexual violence was perpetrated by 16.9% men, and 3% men were sexually violent towards their partners. Sexual violence against women as a part of the male group was committed by 9.7% of men. Men over 60 were more inclined to use sexual violence, followed by younger men in the age group 18-24. Younger men (18-24 years) are more inclined to be the perpetrators of sexual violence as a part of a male group. Men of lower level of education and men of the lowest incomes are more inclined to be the perpetrators of sexual violence. 

Men with the most gender-equitable attitudes were less inclined to use violence against their partners.

 

Risk behaviour – most inequitable attitudes, higher inclination towards risk behaviour

36% of men took part in thefts, 18% was arrested and 11% possessed weapons. Younger men, aged under 35, least educated men and those with the lowest incomes and unstable source of income were more likely to belong to gangs, and participate in thefts and fights. Younger and least educated men, but also those who are informally employed were more often arrested or spent time in prison. Men holding most inequitable attitudes were more inclined to participate in fights, thefts and gangs.


[1] Defined as several times per week or daily.