Are Masculinities Changing? Ethnographic Exploration of a Gender Intervention with Men in Rural Maharashtra, India


  • Ahonaa Roy,

    1. Trained as a sociologist, with a BA and MA degree from India, and MS and DPhil in Development Studies from the University of Sussex.
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  • Abhijit Das

    1. Director of the Centre for Health and Social Justice (CHSJ), a health policy research and advocacy organisation in India.
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    • We are extremely grateful to Satish K. Singh, Shakti Jamdade and colleagues at CHSJ who made all the arrangements for the field visit. We owe a debt of gratitude to Shahaji Gadhire, Sunita, Aparna and Vijay from the Astitva team who welcomed us to their field area and provided all the necessary support. We sincerely thank Professor Sanjay Srivastava for his valuable comments and suggestions, which have sharpened both the contents and arguments in this article. And, last but not the least, a big thank you to all the men and women in the villages where we carried out our ethnography, for sharing their lives with us and teaching so much.


Samajhdar Jodidar is a community-based intervention with men in rural Maharashtra in India that is aimed at reducing gender disparities at the family and community level. The intervention is based on the results achieved from earlier work done in Uttar Pradesh where ‘role model-activists’ were found to be a crucial inspiration for gender-related changes among men. Through participant observations and in-depth interviews in one village, the article explores the changes that have taken place among men, focusing on the ‘animator’ who has been trained as the role model-activist. The article compares the changes in the animator with the masculinity of ‘wrestlers’ in two neighbouring villages, who form an idealised masculinity for the region. The article argues that such interventions can lead to substantive improvements in women's status without compromising men's ‘masculinities’.