No Adult Male Role Models: Distorting Armenian Male Teenager’s View of Masculinity

Gender issues in Armenia are currently under-evaluated and are interpreted predominantly as women’s issues. Most of the recommendations drawn from different research suggest special policies to support and reinforce women’s integration into traditionally male-dominated areas. According to CRRC-Armenia fellow Mariam Martirosyan, it is dangerous to ignore areas where significant under-representation of men is apparent; since in the long-term view, it may lead to a outcome for the Armenian male, the Armenian family unit and Armenian society in general.

Mariam Martirosyan studied the impact of the lack of adult male role models or senior male mentorship in Armenian schools on male teenagers’ perceptions of masculinity. The research findings were alarming. The lack of male teachers in contemporary Armenian schools causes misperceptions on masculinity and male gender values among teenagers, often resulting in increased crime rates and delinquent behavior among young male adolescents.

In the attempt to find solutions to the problem presented in the paper, the fellow recommended to attract and engage more men into Armenia’s secondary schools by increasing teachers’ salaries; to bridge adult and young males via programs like the ZANG program, to assign male students of higher education institutions as mentors for primary, secondary and high-school students; to organize frequent tours to the army or to different factories dealing with technology and construction.

The fellow published an article in the June 2008 issue on “Journal of Education and Human Development” at the Scientific Journals International. The paper (in PDF format) is also available for download at the CRRC-Armenia website.