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Table 3 Male versus female perceptions of disempowered women

From: Exploring the differences between men’s and women’s perceptions of gender-based violence in rural Tajikistan: a qualitative study

Themes Qualitative content analysis
Male group perception Female group perception Outcome comparison
Education It is perceived that disempowered women have limited to no education, which causes her to lack life skills. It is also common for a disempowered woman to only have her primary or secondary education as a result of dropping out
“She has no education… [She] does not have any skills… [She] has only primary education… [She] has secondary education but could not continue her education.”
It is perceived that disempowered women have no education at all, which causes her to lack basic life skills. They were never able to pursue an education because they never attended school
“She has no education at all… [She] does not have any skills… [Her] husband and family have no education.”
The male group perceives disempowered women to have some experience with school, they just did not receive their diploma at the college or university level. It was commonly perceived that disempowered women went to primary school, but did not complete it. This differs from the female group because they perceive disempowered women as completely uneducated, and did not attend school at all. Despite these differences, both groups agreed that many disempowered women do not hold diplomas
Employment Disempowered women are perceived as unemployed and do not own property. There are some instances where if the woman is married, her husband has migrated for temporary work in Russia. If the husband has seasonal work, it is common for him to not send money to his family. Disempowered women who have temporary employment or a seasonal job work in agriculture. If the woman has children, she will resort to pulling the children from school to assist with field work. Her children will typically work in the field their entire childhood and oftentimes never receive an education
“She does not have a job, [her] husband has temporary work”
“[Her] husband is working on the tractor seasonally and sometimes as a taxi driver, and he migrates to Russia in the winter.”
“Her husband is on migration and does not send any money to support them.”
“Her children work in the field since childhood to earn money so that they can support their mother… [She] has a seasonal job of working in the neighbors’ lands to earn money and in her kitchen garden, where she plants some vegetables.”
Disempowered women are perceived as unemployed and do not own property. It is common for them to have a husband that is unemployed and lethargic because he does not wish to work. Unemployed husbands do not help their wives with household work, as she is expected to complete it by herself. If the husband has temporary employment through migration, he does not send money home to support his family. If the disempowered woman has temporary employment herself, it is typically seasonal work in her kitchen garden, in the field, or on her neighbor’s land to earn money and food. The hours range from the early morning until the late evening, and the salary is just enough for daily expenses. If she needs help on her own field, she resorts to child labor and forces her children to work
“Her husband has temporary work.”
“She does not have a permanent job. She has seasonal work in the kitchen garden. She is working on a cotton field and doing heavy work. Her husband is very lazy because he does not want to work.”
“Her children work in the field since childhood to help… [She] forces them to work.”
Both male and female groups had a general consensus that disempowered women are often unemployed. If she has temporary work in her own kitchen garden or on her neighbor’s land, she orders her children to work with her. Both groups also agreed that if the husband is on seasonal outmigration, he would not send any money to support his family. The only difference amongst the male and female groups is that the female group mentioned instances where the husband was unemployed because he is lazy and apathetic. The male groups never discuss husbands being unemployed, only having temporary employment
Decision-making Disempowered women have no voice when it comes to decision-making. Their income is controlled independently by their husband
“Her income is controlled by her husband.”
Disempowered women have no voice when it comes to decision-making. Their income is controlled independently by their husband. If her husband is on migration, then she will manage the household by herself and make financial decisions independent of him
“Her husband controls the seasonal income.”
“Her husband is on migration so she controls the income.”
Both groups agreed that the disempowered woman’s husband will have control over their income and make the decisions himself. However, the male group never mentioned an instance where the disempowered women make decisions independent of their husband when he is on migration. The female group explained that disempowered women are able to make their own independent decisions when their husband is not present
Marital status Disempowered women are divorced, widowed, or married to a husband on migration or unemployed
“She is widowed.”
“She is married but her husband is on migration”
“[She] is divorced.”
Disempowered women have a husband, but he is unemployed or on migration. There are some instances where she is a widow Both groups agreed that disempowered women are widowed, have a husband who is unemployed, or a husband on migration. The main difference between groups bring the male participants noted that disempowered women may also be divorced
Relationship wellness Disempowered women do not respect their husbands
“She does not respect her husband.”
Disempowered women do not respect their husbands because she is afraid of him
“Her husband is an alcoholic. She does not respect him… [She] is afraid of her husband.”
Both male and female groups agree that disempowered women do not respect their husbands. However, the female group goes in depth about why this is. Disempowered women do not respect their husband because they are fearful of him, thus amplifying negative attitudes towards him
Violence Disempowered women have had experiences with violence during their childhood such as psychological, physical, and financial abuse within their family. It is also common for them to face domestic violence within their marriages as a result of their husbands engaging in continued substance abuse (typically alcohol). This abuse is then adopted by the woman and perpetrated against her children
“Her husband is an alcoholic and beats her every day because she is lazy and does not do anything in the house.”
“Her family was poor and her father was an alcoholic so he did not take care of his family. Now she and her family experience psychological and financial violence.”
Disempowered women face domestic violence and psychological, physical, and financial abuse almost daily. It is common for her husband to beat her and their children. The children also face the same kinds of abuse and are forced to work in the field with their mother
“She experiences psychological, physical and financial violence almost every day. Her husband beats her every day. Her children also experience psychological, physical and financial violence as they are forced to work in the field. Their father beats them as well.”
Both male and female groups agreed that disempowered women experience domestic violence and are physically abused by their husbands. They have also experienced psychological and financial abuse throughout their lives. However, the male group specifies that the mothers beat their children whereas the female group state that the husband is the perpetrator. There is a difference in perception between genders on child abuse and its perpetrators
Mental health Disempowered women do not have a stable mental health. They are usually stressed and upset
“She had a troubled childhood.”
“She is always stressed and depressed, nervous.”
Disempowered women do not have stable mental health. It is common for them to be angry and stressed
“She is very nervous, angry, and always stressed… life is hard for her.”
“She is suffering.”
There is a consensus from both male and female groups that disempowered women do not have stable mental health and are constantly feeling stressed
Substance abuse It is perceived that disempowered women first experience instances of substance abuse during their childhood, where their father is an alcoholic. Disempowered women also face substance abuse in their marriage, specifically with their husbands. The husband typically faces issues with alcoholism
“Her husband is alcoholic… [Her] father was alcoholic.”
Disempowered women also face substance abuse in their marriage, specifically with their husbands. The husband typically faces issues with alcoholism which results in lack of income for the family
“Her husband is an alcoholic… [Her] husband does not help her and he spends his money on alcohol.”
Both groups agree that disempowered women face substance abuse issues with their husbands. However, the male group specifically mentioned that disempowered women have experiences with substance abuse during childhood with their fathers as well