Working towards gender equality in rural Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea: community health survey

Helen Smith, Jessica R. Botfield, Marce Soares, Robert Hagoma, Yan Cheng, Kevin McGeechan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The centrality of gender equality for sustainable human development is well recognised and reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), however in many countries in the Pacific region gender inequality is widespread. Working with men and boys presents an important opportunity to address gender inequality. A ‘Men’s Health Project’ was implemented in rural districts in Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 2014-17, which aimed to promote gender equality and improve sexual and reproductive health and maternal and child health outcomes by actively engaging men. Community surveys were undertaken in each community before and after project implementation to enable a greater understanding of men’s knowledge and attitudes at these different time points. This paper reports findings from the more recent surveys with 400 men in Timor-Leste in 2016 and 243 men in PNG in 2017, in order to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the situation in these rural communities at this time. In both countries, the vast majority of men reported that the husband makes the major decisions in the household (80% in Timor-Leste and 84% in PNG). In Timor-Leste, 5% of respondents felt it was okay for a husband to beat his wife, with 13% reporting this in PNG. Findings suggest that meeting SDGs 3 and 5 will require ongoing and concerted efforts in Timor-Leste and PNG
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-512
Number of pages7
JournalPacific Journal of Reproductive Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

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