Abusive men who indulge in violence against women are less likely to be happy, says a recent study carried out in the country. On the other hand, a foreign study revealed that gender equality ensures better living standards for men and their women counterparts.
The local study titled 'Men's coercive control, partner violence perpetration and life satisfaction in Bangladesh' was carried out by the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDRB). The foreign study was conducted by Professor Oystein Gullvag Holter of the Gender Research Centre at University of Oslo, Norway. This study is titled 'What's in it for men? Old question, new data'.
Although abusive men tend to think that they have the upper hand, the ICDDRB study published last year showed that they are less happy. Being abusive leaves an impact on their mental and physical health, it added.
As part of the study, 1572 men in the country's cities and villages were asked different questions between January and June in 2011. The results of the study were later published in an international journal.
"Men always want women to be submissive, that's what society has taught them. And when there is a deviation, men opt for domestic violence. However, they don't enjoy doing it. It leaves a negative impact on their mental and physical health," said ICDDRB senior scientist Ruchira T Naved, one of the researchers who had conducted the study.
It also showed that men who were subjected to violence in their childhood are more likely to be abusive when they grow up.
"Men should understand violence does them no good. Without a change in their mindset, violence against women cannot be contained," Ruchira observed.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad general secretary Maleka Banu said, "The issue of engaging men in the fight against violence against women has been gaining ground worldwide. The Mahila Parishad has taken different awareness campaigns to this end."
The Centre for Men and Masculinity Studies and the Department of Women and Gender Studies at Dhaka University recently undertook a campaign titled 'Campus Hero Cafe'. It discourages boys to watch pornography on mobiles and perpertrate violence against women.
The Centre for Men and Masculinity Studies has taken up another campaign titled 'Dear Dad' that celebrates men who do not indulge in violence against women or advocate child marriage.
The study conducted by Professor Oystein Gullvag Holter was published in 2015. Holter collected data from 50 states of the USA and 31 countires in Europe.
Men in the US states that record less gender equality have 30 points in the happiness index, whereas men in states that boast better gender equality record 70 points.
"Most of the men do not know that gender equality only lifts the standard of their life. When a woman is educated, healthy and financially solvent, it only has a positive impact on the family and the society as a whole," said Tania Huq, associate professor of DU's women and gender studies department.
*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla print edition, has been rewritten in English by Quamrul Hassan.