Assessing Understanding of Questions from Gender and Power Norm Scales in Siaya, Kenya

Danielle Smith, Emory University
Rob Stephenson, Emory University
Marcie Rubardt, CARE USA
Jude Otogo, CARE Kenya

This study examines married men and women’s understanding of questions from the Gender Equitable Men scale and the Sexual Relationship Power Scale, two commonly used scales to measure gender equity and power in relationships. The study took place in Siaya, Kenya. Cognitive interviews were conducted with married men and married women. Participants were asked to explain their understanding of the questions. Results show that interpretations of questions often varied by gender. In particular, men and women understood concepts of gender norms differently. Scales attempting to quantify levels of gender equity and power dynamics are uniquely challenging because of culturally specific ideas and language around issues of sexuality, gender, and power. Understanding how questions are interpreted and processed may help refine gender and sexuality scales and assist in improving quality of quantitative gender and sexuality-related research. This study demonstrates the benefits of cognitive interviewing in gender and sexuality research.

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Presented in Session 15: Qualitative Methods in Studying Health and Mortality