Gender Inequality, Homophobia and Violence: the three pillars of patriarchal norms and attitudes and their relations

Datum: 14 maart 2019

Locatie: Aula B of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) - Kortenaerkade 12 - 2518AX The Hague

Tijdstip: 16 uur

Promotor: Prof. dr. Petra Meier, Prof. dr. Arjun Bedi

Korte beschrijving: Phd defence Åsa Ekvall - Department of Political Science (double degree with the Erasmus University Rotterdam)


How could gender inequality, and thinking that gender inequality is a good thing, have something to do with violent crime, civil war or international conflicts? And homophobia – can that also have something to do with violence other than gay bashing? Turns out it is all linked. Thinking that 1) men should have more power than women at all levels in society; 2) only straight people are “normal” and homosexuals should not be accepted, and 3) that violence is a good way to solve disputes and conflicts (or to gain or regain respect and honor) - be they on interpersonal or international level – are the three core pillars of patriarchal norms.

And when you change one of these pillars it will have an impact on the others! This thesis shows how attitudes to gender norms, including heteronormativity, are related to a vide variety of types of violence. The most gender unequal and homophobic countries also are the ones that have the highest levels of societal violence and the most at risk of having an armed conflict on their own territory. Meanwhile, the most gender equal and homosexuality accepting countries are the ones with low levels of societal violence and low risk of armed conflict on their own territory. But these egalitarian countries are the most likely to intervene militarily abroad and to export arms, thus seemingly practicing different standards for behavior at home and abroad. Still, societies that are more egalitarian are much less violent in general than the more patriarchal ones and one might wonder how that is. The last study in this thesis show how attitudes to violence change when attitudes to gender norms change – showing their interrelatedness. It is thus crucial to take patriarchal norms and attitudes towards gender, sexuality and violence into account when addressing violent conflict and other forms of violence. 

The ceremony will be followed by a reception. 

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