International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES)


The International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) is one of the most comprehensive household studies ever carried out on men’s attitudes and practices – along with women’s opinions and reports of men’s practices – on a wide variety of topics related to gender equality.


The data and conclusions generated from IMAGES have served as the foundation for the development of all of Promundo’s major initiatives, and they have informed the design of numerous partner interventions to engage men in gender equality and the prevention of gender-based violence.


Results from IMAGES have informed national-level discussions and the development of new policies, including serving as an impetus for men’s health initiatives in Brazil and for discussions with the Ministry of Health in Chile around engaging men in childbirth.


The International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) is one of the most comprehensive studies ever on men’s practices and attitudes as they relate to gender norms, attitudes toward gender equality policies, household dynamics including caregiving and men’s involvement as fathers, intimate partner violence, health, and economic stress. As of 2014, it had been carried out in more than 10 countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, and Rwanda. Between 2009 and 2013, household surveys were administered to more than 16,000 men and 5,000 women, ages 18-59. Promundo and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) created and co-coordinate IMAGES.

IMAGES data provides insights on men’s use of violence against partners, participation in caregiving, and men’s reactions to the global gender equality agenda, among other themes. The IMAGES questionnaire includes items from the World Health Organization multi-country study on violence against women, the Demographic and Health Surveys, the Gender Equitable Men (GEM) Scale – a validated instrument to assess attitudes about gender that has been adapted and validated in household research in more than 20 countries – and other field-tested and validated questions on men’s attitudes and practices related to gender equality.

The questionnaire has been adapted across contexts – while maintaining its core set of comparable questions – to ensure its cultural acceptability and relevance. In the case of conflict and post-conflict settings, the questionnaire includes additional item about the effects of conflict and displacement on gender relations. The quantitative survey is always carried out together with qualitative research to map masculinities, contextualize the survey results, and provide detailed life histories that illuminate key quantitative findings.

Adaptations of IMAGES supported by the International Development Research Center are underway in both high-violence and post-conflict settings (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Maputo, Mozambique, respectively). These adaptations include household surveys that measure relationships between exposure to violence and gender equality, among other issues, and qualitative research featuring life history interviews about masculinities and trajectories toward non-violence.

Results from IMAGES have been shared at numerous national and international meetings, and widely disseminated to promote policy changes to engage men and boys in gender equality. At the national level, IMAGES data has informed policy and action in a variety of ways, including inspiring men’s health initiatives in Brazil, starting discussions with the Ministry of Health in Chile around engaging men in childbirth, promoting new and progressive sexuality education policies in Croatia, and initiating sexual and gender-based violence prevention activities with men in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

IMAGES has received recognition, support, and funding from numerous international organizations such as the World Bank, CARE, UN Women, UNFPA, UNDP, the Ford Foundation, International Development Research Center, DFID, SIDA, and NORAD. Additionally, the data and conclusions from IMAGES have been presented at seminars and events in more than 20 countries. IMAGES also inspired Partners for Prevention (the UN joint program on engaging men in ending violence against women), which has carried out a similar household survey focusing on men and gender-based violence in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka.

Reports and Publications

IMAGES reports have been widely circulated and used to inspire policy debate on the role of engaging men and boys in gender equality. Country research partners are chosen in part based on their interest and ability to use the findings for advocacy purposes. The report of the first six countries in which IMAGES was carried out (Evolving Men: Preliminary Findings from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey) has been downloaded more than 14,000 times. Another report, Bridges to Adulthood, uses IMAGES data to understand the impact of men’s childhood experiences of violence throughout their lives. Furthermore, a World Bank working paper entitled Engaging Men and Boys in Advancing Women’s Agency: Where we stand and new directions, uses IMAGES data to better understand how to involve men and boys as key stakeholders and allies to increase women’s agency. Nearly all the countries have developed national country reports, and a special series of articles on the IMAGES results has been published in journals such as Men and Masculinities (Sage).

Overview Publications

Evolving Men: Initial Results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) – This report focuses on the initial, comparative analysis of results from the men’s questionnaires across the six countries (Brazil, Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico, and Rwanda), with women’s reports on key variables.

Men who Care: A Multi-Country Qualitative Study of Men in Non-Traditional Caregiving Roles – This study presents the results of life history interviews with more than 80 men in 5 countries – all carrying out caregiving in the home or as a profession. These interviews provide key insights on the challenges to men taking on more equitable caregiving, as well as on how to encourage more men to take on equal roles in caregiving.

What men have to do with it: Public Policies to Promote Gender Equality – This report presents a multi-country review and analysis of policies to engage men in achieving gender equality and reducing gender disparities in health and social welfare. The policy reviews conducted by partners in Brazil, Chile, India, Mexico and South Africa, with brief summaries on Norway and Tanzania, form the basis for the report.

Country-Specific Reports

Publications on Gender Attitudes

Measuring Gender Attitude: Using Gender-Equitable Men Scale (GEMS) in Various Socio-Cultural Settings – This report describes the development of the Gender Equitable Men (GEM) scale and the process of country-specific adaptation. It also highlights its relevance as a tool to measure gender inequity.

Measuring Attitudes toward Gender Norms among Young Men in Brazil: Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the GEM Scale – This report describes the development and psychometric evaluation of the Gender Equitable Men (GEM) scale, whereby scale items on gender norms related to sexual and reproductive health, sexual relations, violence, domestic work, and homophobia were designed and tested among young men in Brazil.

Pathways to Gender-Equitable Men: Findings from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey in Eight Countries – This article presents findings from IMAGES in eight low- and middle-income countries: Brazil, Chile, Mexico, India, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. It provides a current picture of men’s attitudes about gender and gender equality, explores the determinants of equitable attitudes, and investigates the associations between equitable attitudes and relationship behaviors.

Working with Men and Boys to Prevent Gender-based Violence: Principles, Lessons Learned, and Ways Forward – This article examines the rationale for working with men and boys for gender equality; describes key findings from multi-country studies – including IMAGES – about the relationship between notions of masculinities and men’s gender-related practices; documents key principles guiding much gender equality work with men and boys; identifies emerging strategies and proposes key next steps.

Publications on Violence

Engaging Men and Boys in Advancing Women’s Agency: Where We Stand and New Directions – This review explores the evidence base on the role of men and boys in advancing women’s agency. It examines the literature on gender norms and their influence on attitudes and behaviors, including men’s use of violence against women, and explores the benefits of gender equality and women’s agency for men. It presents results from IMAGES and outlines key knowledge gaps and directions for future research, policies, programming, and evaluation.

The Making of Sexual Violence: How Does a Boy Grow Up to Commit Rape? – This report presents an overview of five study sites of IMAGES, presents findings related to men’s self-reported perpetration of sexual violence, investigates seven domains of possible influences on men’s sexual violence perpetration, and provides actionable lessons and recommendations.

Bridges to Adulthood: Understanding the Lifelong Influence of Men’s Childhood Experiences of Violence – This report explores the prevalence and nature of violence against children, as well as its potential lifelong effects. Using IMAGES data from six countries (Brazil, Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico and Rwanda) the report expands understanding of these issues by examining data from low- and middle-income countries, by analyzing men’s reports of experiencing and perpetrating violence, and by examining broad categories of lifelong effects.

Publications on Fatherhood and Caregiving

Global pathways to men’s caregiving: Mixed methods findings from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey and the Men Who Care study – This mixed method study explores which men are more involved in caregiving, and what childhood and adulthood factors influence their level of involvement.

Resources for Conducting IMAGES

IMAGES Overview and Guide – Review the objectives, parameters, topics, analysis, dissemination and additional considerations for IMAGES

IMAGES Questionnaires for Men and Women

IMAGES Interviewer’s Manual/Guide