Gender Attitudes in Azerbaijan
In February 2012, CRRC conducted a survey entitled “Social Capital, Media and Gender in Azerbaijan”, which was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). People were asked about gender roles, division of labor and participation of men and women in domestic and public life. The results show that most Azerbaijanis express traditional attitudes.
According to the survey data, over half (67%) of the Azerbaijani population considers the main task of a woman to take care of the home and cook for her family. Moreover, 57% agree to the statement that being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay, and 61% think the children suffer when a mother works for pay.
With regard to the division of labor within the household, 85% of Azerbaijanis think that changing diapers, giving kids a bath and feeding children are the mother’s responsibility. When asked about what tasks they were taught when they were children or teenagers, 96% of Azerbaijani women mentioned routine domestic chores such as cooking and cleaning (32% of men said the same). In contrast, 74% of the men said they were taught how to fix home appliances (21% of women said the same). Thus, the data indicates that the attitudes about gender roles as well as the actual behavior within the family are rather traditional in Azerbaijan.
The survey results show that there is an unequal level of participation between men and women in public sphere. There is generally less female involvement. 63% of the Azerbaijani population said that on the whole men make better business executives and political leaders than women do. Furthermore, 58% agree to the statement that men should have more right to a job than women when jobs are scarce. Nevertheless, 83% of the Azerbaijanis say they would vote for a woman candidate in the next parliamentary elections (all things being equal), and 59% think that the current number of women members of the parliament (19 out of 125) is too few. This reveals that the Azerbaijani population is not generally disinclined to have women in important positions, yet men are still more represented in politics and the labor market.
Surprisingly, just over half of the population thinks that gender equality in Azerbaijan has already been achieved for the most part. However, women are less likely to agree to this statement (45%) than men (59%).
In summary, CRRC data indicates that traditional gender roles persist in Azerbaijan. The findings show that the population’s attitudes towards gender equality are a bit ambiguous. Many people express traditional attitudes about gender roles, division of labor and participation of men and women in domestic and public life. Yet, much of the population also thinks gender equality has already been mostly achieved. This indicates that the perception of gender equality differs from the actual distribution of gender roles.