Consultant – to conduct a study on social norms of masculinities, gender roles and stereotypes

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Job Overview


Terms of Reference for Consultant(s) to conduct a study on social norms of masculinities, gender roles and stereotypes to identify the common misconception men and boys have around women and girls’ empowerment.

September to October 2020

Oxfam Iraq Programme

  1. Program Context

Iraq declared military victory over ISIS in December 2017. After one year and a half, the country sees 1,665,108 of its population still internally displaced, and efforts to rebuild a shattered country and to re-establish the rule of law are still largely underway, amid the presence of multiple security forces and militias, as well as a newly looming ISIS resurgence. This increasingly protracted crisis compounds pre-existing vulnerabilities and longstanding instability, especially in the Disputed Territories of Iraq, where ethnic, political and sectarian divides, coupled with the perception of historical injustices have seemingly tainted relationships among communities.


The humanitarian context in Iraq has transitioned into a new phase. Although Iraq is currently in a post-conflict landscape after the end of military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), there are unpredictable dynamics throughout the country, impacting humanitarian programming. Asymmetric attacks by armed groups continue to be carried out along with small scale military operations, resulting in new displacement and impacting the IDP return rate. In tandem, new sources of instability are also emerging linked to rising poverty rates, delays in community reconciliation, lack of livelihood opportunities, and political and social tensions which cause small-scale new displacement.


Over the year, situation has not improved much, and displacement has impacted women and girls significantly in camps and off-camp settings. According to Humanitarian Needs Overview report November 2019, sexual and gender-based violence in Iraq is widespread and reported both in-camp and out-of-camps settings. It is exacerbated by vulnerabilities of women and girls whose husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons have been killed or detained during the conflict against ISIL.


  1. Women and Governance Program


Women and Girls rebuilding Iraq project will contribute to the policy shaping, decision making mechanisms and peace building processes at all levels to ensure women and girls play a significant role in shaping the new rehabilitation and development agenda.

The initiative proposes to work with women and girls living in two governorates: Kirkuk and Diyala, that have long suffered from protracted conflict. It will also foresee to engage the Baghdad office for public policy engagement to advocate for women and girls’ rights at national level.

The project ultimate outcome:

Through capacity building of Women Rights Organizations (WROs), transformative leadership in formal and informal governance structures will improve the well-being of the most vulnerable Iraqi women and girls at a wider scale.

The intervention will target 9,000 most vulnerable women and girls in Iraq, will work indirectly and impact 200 women and girls and 50 men and boys within communities. The project will also be reaching out to 254,748 indirect beneficiaries


The 36 months program has two intermediate outcomes:

  • Increased active participation of women and girls in public and political environment in decision making processes as transformative leaders.
  • Improved social and political environment for the effective participation of women and girls in government structures.

This initiative will work at 3 levels:

  • Micro: individual capacity building and community engagement (female and male engagement)
  • Meso: working with women rights organizations and women’s right defenders to improve the wellbeing of women and girls
  • Macro: work with opinion formers and policy makers for increased active participation of women and girls in governance structures.


  1. Objectives of the Consultancy:

The main objective of the consultancy is; to conduct a study on social norms around masculinities and to develop a context specific edutainment material for awareness raising by and towards men and boys to increase support for women’s participation in governance and decision-making processes.

Specifically, the consultant will conduct a study on social norms of masculinities, gender roles and stereotypes to identify the common misconception men and boys have around women and girls’ empowerment. The study will gather evidence from the two targeted governorates.

This study will build on the existing information available from the studies done within Oxfam and the project related to gender and social norms. The most recent conducted in May 2020 has identified barriers for women’s participation and led to the development of a training manual for community change makers. The study will complement the already identified barriers focusing on men and boys and deepening the understanding of social norms of masculinities. Based on the findings, the consultancy will develop materials to address these norms during awareness raising in the community.

The general objectives are as follow:

  1. To analyse how gender roles, norms, masculinities and stereotypes in Kirkuk and Diyala affect the way men engage with these concepts and the consequent impact on women and girls.
  2. To describe the social structure who support the social masculinities phenomenon of distinguishing males and females based on a set of identity traits.
  3. To identify opportunities based in the social structures that the project can leverage to address masculinities and foster support for women participation and leadership including advocacy topics.

The specific objectives are as follow:

  1. To document the social norms surrounding masculinities, gender roles and stereotypes, how expectations towards boys and men’s social roles and responsibilities impact women and girls’ and to what extent they limit women’s’ opportunities for participation in private and public decision-making processes.
  2. To develop an awareness raising edutainment package (Facilitation Manual, Key Messages and IEC tools) to be used in the community to raise awareness on gender norms and stereotypes, promote positive masculinities and support women’s participation in formal and informal decision-making processes.
  3. Develop a criteria for identifying and selecting male (men and boys) to become positive role models in the community.
  4. Conduct a training of trainers for the identified positive role models to build their capacity in awareness raising and collect feedback/validate the edutainment package for finalization.


  1. Scope of Work

The masculinities study will cover the following aspects (among others):

  • Define masculinities and femininities and respective social norms in the Iraq context with focus on Diyala and Kirkuk;
  • Describe ways in which norms and stereotypes about masculinities and femininities affect women and girls’ daily lives (within and outside the household);
  • Explain how norms and stereotypes reproducing practices of harmful masculinities sustain gender inequalities and cross-cut with other social inequalities (like age, religion, sect, etc.);
  • Identify different forms of masculinities, and some practical examples/leverages of how to promote positive masculinities;
  • Outline the ways in which a shift from negative to positive masculinities requires different understandings and practices of power.


Purpose and intended audience


The social norms around masculinities study will:


  • Ensure the project gets support from community members specifically from men in order to challenge the accepted social norms and culture that limit women and girls’ participation in policy shaping, decision making mechanisms and peace building processes.
  • Inform Oxfam’s Women and Governance project implementation on transforming gender norms and improving the well-being of vulnerable women and girls as we’re moving to development-oriented programming.
  • Serve as an insightful synthetic tool to draw, to the extent of possible/if any, a common ground for Oxfam’s policy and advocacy work on women’s rights and participation in Iraq.





The methodology will apply an action research approach. Action research can be defined as “an approach in which the action researcher and a client collaborate in the diagnosis of the problem and in the development of a solution based on the diagnosis” (Bryman, A. & Bell, E, 2011).


The methodology will combine a secondary data review (SDR) with primary data collection by means of surveys (if access to communities is possible), key informant interviews (KIIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs) undertaken with individuals, representing identified organizations or institutions in two locations: Kirkuk and Diyala.


In developing this mixed methods methodology, the consultancy will make sure Oxfam’s feminist principles are respected.


The main methodological steps to achieve the objectives are as follow:


  1. Secondary data review: Desk review of the most recent researches, including but not limited to reports provided by Oxfam (including Oxfam recent report on barriers to women’s participation).


  1. Primary data collection: Survey (individual interviews/questionnaires – if access to communicates is possible) for quantitative data collection. Key Informant Interviews and Focus Group Discussions for qualitative data collection. It is important that the masculinities study rely on qualitative approaches to ensure that the nuanced gendered experiences of women and men are properly captured.


  1. The study should be specific to the communities targeted by the project in Kirkuk and Diyala governorates.


  1. Deliverables:
  2. Detailed methodology and data collection tools. The draft methodology and tools will be submitted in English to be reviewed by the Oxfam team before commencement of data collection. The consultant will translate the validated tools in Arabic.


  1. A preliminary report in English detailing the social norms surrounding masculinities, gender roles and stereotypes, how expectations towards boys and men’s social roles and responsibilities impact women and girls’ and to what extent they limit women’s’ opportunities for participation in private and public decision-making processes.

. The report will include proposed IEC key messages on masculinities and criteria for identifying male positive role models.


  1. A training curriculum (facilitation manual, presentations, training tools, etc.) to train male positive role model on masculinities, gender roles and stereotypes and how to deliver awareness raising on those topics. The approach developed will be adapted to the context of Iraq and support the integration of awareness raising on masculinities within the project objectives. The draft of a training outline will be submitted in English for revision and validation by Oxfam team. The final version of the facilitation manual, presentations and other training tools will be submitted in Arabic.
  2. A tool box with awareness raising/edutainment products which challenges the traditional social norms around masculinities to be used at the local/community, governorate and national levels by the trained positive role models. The draft of key messages and proposed means for awareness raising will be submitted in English for revision and validation by Oxfam team. The final version of IEC tools will be submitted in Arabic.


  1. Final report in English detailing the methodologies applied, findings and recommendation for the project to integrate awareness raising on masculinities in the GAC Women and Governance project. This should be accompanied by a PowerPoint summary in English of between 15 to 20 slides.


The deliverables will be considered final upon receiving and addressing comments from Oxfam technical team.

Report structure


The final report will be redacted in English. It should not exceed 30/40 pages (excluding annexes), and must include an executive summary of 1000 words maximum, highlight potential contextual and thematic similarities and analysing trends surrounding masculinities, gender roles and stereotypes, how expectations towards boys and men’s social roles and responsibilities impact women and girls’ and to what extent they limit women’s’ opportunities for participation in private and public decision-making processes in Kirkuk and Diyala. The report must also include a solid section on strategic recommendations for Oxfam’s programming on integrating awareness raising on masculinities in Oxfam’s Women and Governance project and other Gender Justice programming.

  1. Supervision and Management

The Gender Programme Manager in coordination with the Gender Project Manager will manage the consultant during the whole assignment process with support from GAC project team including partners.


  1. Logistics

Considering the limitations of movements due to the Covid-19 pandemic, international consultants may not be able to travel to Iraq. Access to the targeted communities is likely to be limited and change over time. The consultant will therefore propose an innovative remote methodology which allows to reach the consultancy objectives despite those limitations.


  1. Time Frame

The time frame for the assessment is estimated to be 20 to 25 working days preferably from Mid October 2020 to November 2020. The consultant(s) will present a workplan of activities leading to completion of the assignment accompanied by a detailed financial proposal (budget) in USD, including the costs for translation and publishing of these materials. The table below can be used by the consultant(s) when submitting their technical offer.


Number of Days Unit Cost In USD Total in USD Comments
Per diem
Translation costs (e.g. report)
Other (specify)


  1. Knowledge and Experience
  • University degree in gender studies, social sciences, political science, psychology and sociology or other relevant field.
  • Experience / expertise in the following areas: masculinities and gender equality, men’s engagement in conflict and post-conflict, protection and advocacy.
  • At least 10 years of progressively experience providing leadership on programming, research, and advocacy to advance gender equality and gender justice, particularly in engaging men in a discussion about masculinities, social roles, women’s economic empowerment, human rights and protection or related thematic areas of work.
  • Inter-personal and communication skills with team work attitude.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Capacity building and training expertise.
  • Full English proficiency
  • Spoken Arabic is essential



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