My main research focuses on men's support for gender equality, specifically I am interested in how men can support gender equality, and why they might or might not do so.
I argue that men's support for gender equality is essential for at least three reasons. First, minority groups' (women) causes have been shown to benefit from support of members of the majority group (men). Second, a large part of all societal power and decision-making positions are still held by men - to make a change we need to get those on board who affect gender equality every day through their decisions. And third, at this point men do not engage in an equal proportion of household chores and childcare. Only when men take over 50% of these tasks at home can women excel to their full potential in the workplace.
In the first part of my PhD I investigated how men can support gender equality. I demonstrated that men's support for gender equality can be differentiated between two types of support: public and domestic support for gender equality. Public support comprises actions that address gender inequality in public places, for instance in the workplace. Examples include encouraging female colleagues to take on leadership positions, or speaking up when witnessing gender inequality. Domestic support describes the engagement in nontraditional gender roles within a man's own home environment. Examples include sharing housework and childcare equally with one's female partner. I have developed the Support for Gender Equality among Men Scale (SGEMS) which measures each type of support.
Currently, I am working on the second part of my PhD investigating why men might or might not support gender equality domestically. I link domestic support for gender equality to the theory of precarious manhood. According to this theory, men experience a constant pressure to publicly prove their manhood as it is a state that is "difficult to achieve and tenuous to hold". Men hold their manhood status by avoiding all that is feminine, especially in front of their male peers. In line, we found evidence that men who are happy to engage in domestic chores do not like to admit to it in front of other men. This is problematic as it slows down the journey towards gender equality by sustaining gender roles.