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Gender Ideology and Social Transformation: Using Mixed Methods to Explore Processes of Ideological Change and the Promotion of Women’s Human Rights in Tanzania

Abstract

Despite growing international interest in policies and practices to enhance women’s status and well-being in the Global South, ideological constraints to structural transformation and increasing opportunities available to women are widespread. There is thus considerable need to examine how ideological processes surrounding women’s status and value can be challenged. In the current study we used mixed method analyses to examine a process of deideologizationthe contestation and transformation of traditional ideologyamong a group of Maasai women in northern Tanzania. First, thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative interviews conducted with 16 Maasai women. Themes involving traditional ideology, the value of popular education, and components of a deideologization process were identified and assessed. Second, quantitative structural equation modeling was used to test a process model connecting women’s participation in popular education classes to increased political efficacy, decreased discomfort speaking at community meetings, and, in turn, deceased patriarchal beliefs about women. Overall, findings provided evidence for an iterative deideologization process catalyzed by popular education that led to improvements in women’s lives. The importance of promoting processes of deideologization via locally driven efforts to improve the status and well-being of women are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

The work in this manuscript reflects a partnership between academia and grassroots community engagement. One of the founders of MWEDO, Ndinini Kimesera, was a key collaborator in the administration of this project. This research was supported by a National Science Foundation grant (SES: 0921537) to Shelly Grabe.

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Correspondence to Shelly Grabe.

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Dutt, A., Grabe, S. Gender Ideology and Social Transformation: Using Mixed Methods to Explore Processes of Ideological Change and the Promotion of Women’s Human Rights in Tanzania. Sex Roles 77, 309–324 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0729-4

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Keywords

  • Liberation psychology
  • Women’s rights
  • Gender ideology
  • Popular education
  • Political participation
  • Mixed methods