A new generation of fathers

Effects of the MenCare SRHR intervention on gender equitable attitudes and father role perceptions of young fathers in Cape Town, South Africa

Gender inequality is seen as the driver of two major public health epidemics in South Africa, HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence. The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) program is a program for young men between 15 and 24 from impoverished communities around Cape Town, South Africa, in which traditional norms of manhood are questioned in order to increase gender equitable attitudes among these men. The current study examined the effects of the program on gender equitable attitudes of the participants and perceptions of the father role among young fathers who participated. A sample of 108 young men who participated in the program filled in a questionnaire about gender equitable attitudes prior to the program and after the program. Also, interviews were held with 6 participants who were fathers or expecting fathers. Quantitative results indicate a positive shift towards more gender equitable attitudes after attending the program. There were no differences in gender equitable attitudes prior to the program depending on the age or school status of the participants. There was no difference in effect of the program for young men from different ages or between young men that were or were not in school. Qualitative results confirm gender equitable attitudes among the young fathers who participated and changes in these attitudes after attending the program were self-indicated by the participants. Although the young fathers show less traditional perceptions of the father role and parenting and express the wish to be involved with their children, a behavioural change in involvement after attending the program was not found.


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