Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India

Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India

Priya Nanda, Abhishek Gautam, RaviVerma, Aarushi Khanna, Nizamuddin Khan, Dhanashri Brahme, Shobhana Boyle & Sanjay Kumar

In-depth research on gender, power and masculinity and various programmatic efforts to engage men have made it abundantly clear that men and boys must be an integral part of efforts to promote gender equality. This is especially relevant in India, where caste, class and linguistic ethnicity have tremendous influence on how men construct their sense of masculinity and define what it means to be a “real man” or what is expected of them. Recent research suggests that men’s attitudes and more broadly, masculinity, perpetuate son preference and to some extent, intimate partner violence in India.
With this in mind, ICRW conducted research, surveying a total of 9,205 men and 3,158 women, aged 18-49 in the following seven states across India: Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
The study findings emphasize that in India, masculinity, i.e., men’s controlling behavior and gender inequitable attitudes, strongly determines men’s preference for sons over daughters as well as their proclivity for violence towards an intimate partner – both of which are manifestations of gender inequality. Masculine control in women’s lives affects their own experiences of intimate partner violence and preference for sons. The study finds that ultimately eliminate son preference and intimate partner violence in India, it is critical to develop and implement national policies and programs that involve men in promoting gender equity and diminishing socio-cultural and religious practices thatreinforce gender discrimination.
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We encourage the use and dissemination of our publications for non-commercial, educational purposes. Portions may be reproduced with acknowledgment to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). For questions, please contact; or (202) 797-0007.

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Expanding Effective Contraceptive Options (EECO)

Around the world, more than 220 million women have an unmet need for modern family planning. Nearly half of these women cite method-related reasons for non-use. In order to address the need for new and improved contraceptive methods, ICRW is working with Women Care Global, Evofem Population Services International (PSI), and Everyone Mobile (E1M) to provide women with new women-initiated methods of contraceptives so they can prevent unplanned pregnancy and protect their health.

ICRW will serve as the research partner and will conduct research with potential users of these new methods, initially in Malawi, India, and Zambia. ICRW will then provide partners, and health care providers with research findings in order to better understand decision-making around contraceptive use, product accessibility, and potential barriers to using these new products.


How Empowering Girls Can Help End Child Marriage

Mon, 09/15/2014
Trust Women

In a piece for the Trust Women website, ICRW's Ann Warner, Senior Youth and Gender Specialist, writes about a new ICRW report exhibiting how empowering girls can help end child marriage, highlighting case studies from four countries.

In a piece for the Trust Women website, ICRW's Ann Warner, Senior Youth and Gender Specialist, writes about a new ICRW report exhibiting how empowering girls can help end child marriage, highlighting case studies from four countries.

Prevention of HIV/STI Risk/Vulnerability Among Married Women Through Integration Within Primary Health Care in India

Prevention of HIV/STI Risk/Vulnerability Among Married Women Through Integration Within Primary Health Care in India


Worldwide, India ranks third in terms of the number of people live with HIV, affecting 2.1 million people according to recent estimates. Programming efforts aimed at vulnerable populations, including sex workers, men who have sex with men, injecting drugs users, and truckers, have resulted in a decline in the HIV incidence rate. Building off of that success, the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) is working to further accelerate progress in decreasing the transmission of HIV, by targeting increases in low prevalence states, including through spousal transmission.

The RISHTA project, which means “relationship” in Hindi and Urdu, was conducted in a typical low-income urban community of around 600,000 people in the northeast quadrant of Mumbai City, India and was built on relevant, culturally-based attitudes and behaviors related to sexual health. The project targeted married women who, around the world and in India, are at high risk for contracting HIV by being married to men who participate in high-risk sexual behaviors.

The RISHTA project looks at the following questions:

  1. How can we identify the women are most vulnerable to HIV/STI transmission within marriage?
  2. What approaches can help to reduce married women’s risk?
  3. What outcomes indicators should we use to measure the program’s success?

The following project brief outlines a model for HIV/STI risk/vulnerability reduction for married women by addressing a wide range of psychosocial, marital, and sexual risk factors by integrating counseling and education with primary care through community intervention and education programs.

A video highlighting program participants and benefits of the RISHTA project can be found here.

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We encourage the use and dissemination of our publications for non-commercial, educational purposes. Portions may be reproduced with acknowledgment to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). For questions, please contact; or (202) 797-0007.

Terms and Conditions »

RISHTA Helps Married Women Access Comprehensive Health Care in Mumbai

Ravi Verma, Regional Director of ICRW's Asia Regional Office, is featured in this powerful video about the RISHTA program, designed to ensure that married women in the poorest sections of Mumbai have access to comprehensive, quality sexual health services that meet their needs.

To read the full report on RISHTA, click here.

District Level Study on Child Marriage in India

The overall rate of marriage for Indian girls in their late adolescence remains high, despite improved socio-economic conditions and increased legislation encouraging delayed marriage in India. On top of that, within the country, there are significant variations of marriage rates between regions. For example, over 50 percent of women in Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Bihar are married before the age of 18 compared to only 20 percent in Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir. Part of this regional variation can be explained by differences in cultural marriage practices, but that is not the whole story. While there is a breadth of data available on early marriage in India, there have not been sufficient investigations assessing which geographic areas within India are demonstrating a measurable change in instances of childhood marriage.
This project will aim to map existing quantitative data about childhood marriage in order to illuminate salient methods of reducing it. Without this information, it is difficult to identify geographic areas that are showing rapidly declining trends in early marriage. That makes determining the effectiveness of certain programming challenging because disparate data from various agencies and ministries make it that much more difficult to replicate successful interventions elsewhere.  By connecting and analyzing previous studies, ICRW, in partnership with UNICEF, will provide agencies and ministries with the information necessary to determine how best to approach changing marriage practices in regions throughout India. The goals of this project are to:
  • Analyze existing quantitative data and compile and review supporting literature in order to map rates of early marriage and identify key correlates of early marriage based on districts in India. 
  • Facilitate platforms for dialogue, such as think tanks, among experts and agencies so they can share data, strategies and lessons about reducing childhood marriage.  
  • Build alliances with key officials from government departments, NGOs, academia and the private sector in order to disseminate findings and encourage mobilization in various sectors.
  • Use the input from think tanks and alliances in order to create a strategic model for scaling up early marriage interventions, with an emphasis on incorporating programs and initiatives currently operate in isolation.
Until February 2015

ICRW to Co-Host Panel with Girl Rising

ICRW will be partnering with Girl Rising to co-host a panel, focused on gender-based violence and early marriage, at the UK's Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict,


Tara Abrahams
Girl Rising

Sarah Degnan Kambou,
International Center for Research on Women

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 3:30pm - 4:30pm
ExCel London
Royal Victoria Dock 1 Western Gateway
United Kingdom

Priti Prabhughate

Technical Specialist, Gender and HIV

Dr. Priti Prabhughate is a Senior Technical Specialist at the International Center for Research on Women’s (ICRW), Asia Regional Office. In this role, she functions as a thematic lead on HIV-related research, by designing studies on HIV and parallel topics such as stigma and discrimination. She also provides technical support across teams in managing projects, developing tools, and supporting data evaluation and analysis.  

Priti has more than seven years of research experience in the fields of HIV/AIDS, sexuality, stigma and discrimination, gender-based violence and sexual health – with a special focus on working with sexual minority communities in India. She has experience in building capacity, designing and conducting research with community researchers using participatory learning tools, and using evidence to conduct advocacy with stakeholders, such as health providers and law enforcement.

Priti also brings extensive training in psychology and social work, which equips her with a psychosocial perspective in understanding various phenomena. Her training in human behavior and application of its various theories to research helps her conceptualize research topics in a broad ecological framework. It is this aspect of her work that she is most enthusiastic about since it allows her to conceptualize, plan and analyze all of her research activities at multiple levels from the individual to the community level to the structural level.

ICRW’s approach to women’s empowerment is particularly resonant for Priti as a researcher. Her various research projects on HIV and on stigma in particular, have framed gender as a structural factor that disempowers women and discriminates against women at multiple levels.

Prior to joining ICRW in 2011, Priti worked with the Mumbai community-based organization Humsafar Trust, a male sexual health agency that seeks to prevent HIV among the gay, bisexual and transgender population. She functioned in multiple roles during her professional career at Humsafar, from counselor to ultimately leading the research unit at Humsafar Trust, where she played a pivotal role in guiding setting up IRB at the organization and developing proposals to international donors for research on sexual minority communities.

During her career, Priti has worked with international donors such as the National Institutes of Mental Health and United Nations Development Program as well as Indian government departments such as the National AIDS Control Organization and local partners, including Humsafar Trust, Swasti and St. Xavier’s College.

Contact Priti at pprabhughate@icrw.organd follow her on Twitter @pritiprabhughate


HIV and AIDS, Violence Against Women, Advocacy and Policy Engagement

Languages Spoken: 

English (fluent), Hindi (fluent), Marathi (fluent), Konkani (fluent). Kannada (proficient), Gujarati (proficient) and German (proficient). 


Priti holds a doctorate in social work from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a master’s in social work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. She also holds a master’s in psychiatric social work from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences in Bangalore, and a bachelor’s in psychology from Mumbai University.

Abhishek Gautam

Technical Specialist

As a Technical Specialist in the International Center for Research on Women’s (ICRW) Asia Regional Office, Abhishek Gautam provides technical support across ICRW research teams in designing research studies, managing projects, developing monitoring tools, supervising data collection processes, and supporting data evaluation and analysis. He has more than eight years of research experience in the field of monitoring and evaluation, specifically in the areas of HIV, reproductive, maternal and child health, adolescent health, violence against women, water and sanitation and gender.

A statistician by education, and demographer by profession, Abhishek brings expertise in managing large scale datasets, carrying out advanced level statistical analysis, preparing reports, presentations and publications of research and project findings. He also has hands-on experience in training and building partners’ capacity in data management, analysis and presentation.

Through his work at ICRW, Abhishek aims to illustrate issues that need immediate policy and programmatic efforts in order to promote gender equality and reduce gender-based violence. Recently, he carried out studies on masculinity, gender based-violence and son preference in Nepal, Vietnam and India, in which he demonstrated key links between masculinity, men’s attitudes towards gender equality, childhood experiences and intimate partner violence. Abhishek also has conducted quantitative evaluations for a variety of research projects, including one that assessed safe public spaces in New Delhi and another that focused on water, sanitation and hygiene in Uttar Pradesh.

Prior to joining ICRW in 2011, Abhishek worked in the monitoring and evaluation unit of FHI360 in New Delhi, where he managed the Integrated Behavioral and Biological Assessment of the Avahan program in the state of Maharashtra, and provided technical assistance to the partner, the Indian Council of Medical Research. He was also responsible for the overall data management and analysis of the evaluation study, which was carried out in five states of India. It was one of the largest HIV programs implemented at such a scale. 

Abhishek has worked with a diversity of international donors throughout his career, including United Nations Population Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UN Women, as well as local partners such as Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojna, Shramik Bharti and Jagori.

Contact Abhishek at agautam@icrw.orgor on Twitter at @abhishekgautam


Engaging Men and Boys,Violence Against Women, Population and Reproductive Health, Measurement and Evaluation, Research and Analysis

Languages Spoken: 

English (fluent), Hindi (fluent), Bengali (basic), Marathi (basic). 


Abhishek is currently pursuing a doctorate in statistics from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, India. He holds a master’s in philosophy degree in population studies from the International Institute for Population Sciences in Mumbai, India, and has a master’s and bachelor’s degree in statistics from BHU. 

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