I have worked many years with development aid and humanitarian aid in both post-conflict and conflict settings, mainly, but not only, focusing on gender equality and women’s empowerment. This experience made me start thinking about the relationship between gender equality, or rather gender inequality, and the acceptance of various forms of violence. It seemed to me the that the bigger the gender inequalities there was in a society the the more violence there were at different levels in society and the more individuals seemed to normalize this violence.
A few ago I decided to quit my job and start thinking about these issues full-time by doing a PhD at the University of Antwerp. Since 2015 this has become a Joint PhD with the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. I’m now more than ever convinced of this correlation and that it has to do about our norms on gender and violence and that they are interrelated. More specifically, patriarchal norms on masculinity contains elements that are conducive to attitudes accepting of, approving of and even prescribing violence of different kinds. My current research is setting out to prove this.
I want to share what knowledge and insight I have with as many as possible, which is why I set up a website collecting material on gender, norms, masculinities and violence at http://ekvall.nl
During 2016 I was part of founding a Dutch committee of UN Women, please see unwomen.nl, with the double aim to help fund raise for UN Women and to advocate for gender equality and against gender based violence in the Netherlands.