At TWF, we have long recognised that we cannot achieve gender equality without all voices - including men and boys. However, there is a lack of Hong Kong specific research on male perceptions towards gender equality and gender relations.
This is why we released the first of its kind research to understand the pressures young men face on their path to masculine success and how they perceive gender roles, women’s rising status and attitudes towards changing gender relations. We encourage you to read and share our summary of key findings in Chinese and English. The full report can be found here.
Commissioned researchers, Dr Anita Chan from The Education University of Hong Kong and Dr Adam Cheung from the Hong Kong Baptist University, conducted a study based on the views of 1,768 male university students from 11 universities, supplemented by focus group interviews.
From the findings, the researchers were able to categorise the young men into four types: Macho, Restrained, Paternalistic and Liberal, and could rank results from the most conservative to least conservative:
- Macho (22%): The most conservative group, agreeing the most strongly with traditional women’s roles. They agree strongly with rape myths, are the most negative towards Kong Nui stereotypes and have the most negative attitudes towards feminism and the women’s movement. They are the only group who believe the #MeToo has had a negative effect on men.
- Restrained (5%): Conservative, strongly agree with traditional women’s roles, strongly believe in rape myths and have negative attitudes towards feminism and the women’s movement.
- Paternalistic (49%): Conservative but to a lesser degree. They strongly identify with wanting to protect others, and have a preference that their ideal romantic partner conforms to traditional women’s roles such as prioritising motherhood over their own careers. They generally have positive attitudes towards feminism, the #MeToo movement and the women’s movement.
- Liberal (24%): The least conservative group – they don’t believe women should conform to traditional roles and don’t think that feminism, the #MeToo movement and the women’s movement have had negative effects on men.
Altogether, over 75% of the men surveyed have conservative views towards gender roles and negative perceptions of changing gender relations to varying degrees. Although many young men self-identify with traditionally feminine traits and support gender equality as a concept, they still hold many double standards when it comes to women including their domesticity, appearance, sexual autonomy and career ambitions.
This generation of young, educated men are part of our future leaders and changemakers. It is imperative that we effectively engage them in the work of gender equality. At TWF, we will be drawing on the findings to inform the design of a boys’ gender education programme helping to cultivate gender equal mindsets and behaviours over the long-term. We will also be taking the findings into consideration for our advocacy and existing programmes such as Male Allies and Reverse Mentoring, and we look forward to sharing these next steps with you.
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.