Professionals’ attitudes towards gender equality improved after training with specialists

June 8, 2023

As part of the Active Citizens Foundation project “Sustainable support for human rights through advocacy and education“, the Human Rights Monitoring Institute, together with its partner association “Kaunas Women’s Line” lead 5 online training courses on “Domestic Violence: recognition, response and support” for professionals working with domestic violence: police officers, medical staff, child rights specialists and child rights workers. The training was attended by specialists from all over Lithuania, with a special focus on reaching specialists from Alytus, Jonava, Kaunas, Ukmergė and Kėdainiai.

The training covered the most relevant areas of domestic violence: fundamental aspects of domestic violence, the psychology of the abuser and the victim, legal aspects of the law and the legal changes that are coming into force, and cooperation between institutions. The founding principles of domestic violence included discussions on prevailing attitudes, statistics on the phenomenon, the cycle of violence and control, and the characteristics of systemic violence. In the psychological part, we explored the recurring cycle of violence, the social inequalities that normalise violence, the psychological aspects of violent relationships and the emotional consequences of violence. The discussion on the legislative framework covered the basics of the Domestic Violence Act 2011 and the changes that will come into force on 1 July 2023: the broadening of concepts and the importance of this, the process of issuing a protection order. In the last part, we discussed professional insights and issues, the importance of the SKPC organisation for victim assistance and the possibilities of professional cooperation in dealing with complex problems.

The training was attended by 146 people, of whom about 35% were social workers, about 33% were police officers, 14% were child rights specialists and medical workers, and about 19% were other professions. The majority of specialists, about 33%, were from Kaunas and Kaunas district, and specialists from Kėdainiai and Jonava accounted for about 12%, while specialists from Alytus and Ukmergė accounted for 11% of participants. Also, around 30% of people were from other districts.

Results of the training impact assessment

At the beginning and end of the training, participants were asked to fill in questionnaires indicating whether they agreed or disagreed with various statements related to gender equality and stereotypes. Before discussions 155 respondents completed the first survey and after discussions 107 respondents completed the second survey.

Looking at developments since the discussion, the number of people agreeing that equality between men and women is a fundamental right has increased. The proportion of respondents increased by 6.3% compared to responses before training.. After the training, 84.9% agreed with this statement, compared to 78.6% before the training. The number of respondents who partially agree with the statement has decreased accordingly.

Chart 1. Opinions on whether equality between men and women is a fundamental right

3.6% more respondents disagreed with the statement that men are more suited to political work than women. After the training, 80.2% of people disagreed with this statement, compared to 76.6% before the training. The number of respondents who partially disagreed or agreed with this statement decreased accordingly after the training.

Chart 2. Opinions on whether men are better suited to political work than women

6.3% more respondents after the training agreed with the statement that housework should be shared equally between genders. After the training, there were 86.8% of such people, compared to only 80.5% before the training. The number of respondents who only partly agree with this statement has decreased accordingly.

Chart 3. Opinions on whether housework should be shared equally between the sexes

After the training, there was a 5.6% increase in the proportion of respondents who agree that men and women should be paid the same for the same job. Before the training, 91.6% of people agreed with this statement, while after the training the percentage of those who agreed increased to 97.2%, with a corresponding decrease in the number of respondents who only partially agreed with this statement.

Chart 4. Opinions on whether men and women should receive the same pay for the same work

Also after the training, 7.1% more respondents disagreed that husbands should make key decisions at home. Before the training, only 74% of respondents disagreed with this statement, while after the training the figure increased to 81.1%. The number of those who only partly disagree and partly agree has decreased accordingly.

Conclusions

In summary, after the discussions, a positive change in attitudes towards gender equality was recorded in most of the questions in the questionnaire, i.e. professionals were more strongly in favour of gender equality ideas after the training than before the training. The biggest positive change of 7.1% is seen in the statement that men should make the main decisions at home – 81.1% of the participants disagreed with this statement after the discussion, compared to 74% before the discussion. There is also a 6.3% change in attitudes towards agreeing that housework should be shared equally between the sexes and agreeing that equality between men and women is a fundamental right.

For more information in the form of a presentation, please visit here.