Presentation of the results of the sociological survey "Family relations in Azerbaijan: socio-psychological analysis"
The results of a sociological survey and research project implemented by the Social Research Center on the initiative of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children of the Republic of Azerbaijan are presented. The study was conducted almost for the first time in terms of studying the dynamics and transformation of the Azerbaijani family, family relationships, family values, interactions and connections, the overall picture of family issues, as well as the systematic presentation of state family policy in recent years.
Currently, there are more than 2 million 62 thousand families- social institutions in Azerbaijan, so the scope of the problems arising in the directions of a family's mission, its social functions, family values, its duties and responsibilities, etc. covers a large number of people more than the specified number of families.
The aim of the research is to study the dynamics and trends observed in family relations in our country against the background of the impact of global radical social transformations on families, to reveal them on the basis of sociological analysis;
The research included a survey of families within the quantitative methodology, as well as an in-depth interview-data collection method with specialists from different fields included in the target group within the qualitative methodology. The survey covered Baku, Absheron, Ganja-Gazakh, Sheki-Zagatala, Lankaran, Karabakh, Guba-Khachmaz, Aran and Mountainous Shirvan economic-geographical regions and was conducted with the participation of 2,400 respondents.
Method of a multistage cluster selection proportional to the probability of random sampling was used in the selection of respondents in this study. In the first stage, 40 districts were selected to be covered in the survey, in the next stage, 200 settlements were selected from those districts, and a survey was conducted with 12 respondents from each settlement.
The questions of the survey were prepared taking into account the local situation, as well as international experience. The questionnaire consists of 92 (83 specific and 9 socio-demographic) questions.
15 interviewers and 2 coordinators took part in conducting the survey. The Social Research Center has developed guidelines for interviewers.
The collected data were analyzed using a special program - SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).
Based on the socio-demographic indicators of the respondents, we can say that the majority of respondents (96.7%) are Azerbaijani and Muslim (98.6%). Gender balance was maintained within the sample - men (50.3%) and women (49.7%). The majority of respondents were between the ages of 26-35 (26.3%) and 36-45 (23.4%), as well as those with secondary education (45.7%). In terms of employment status, the share of public sector employees is higher (30.8%).
For quality-based research opinion of 27 expert-respondents - lawyers, heads of non-governmental organizations, sociologists and psychologists, government officials, etc. were obtained.
The picture and indicators that emerge from the analysis of respondents' opinions are as follows:
An analysis of the answers to the question “How much do you agree with the idea that “The family is a small state” asked in the context of learning the role of the family institution and the place of family and marriage relations in society”, shows that although there are some negative trends in the family institution, in general among those polled, perceptions of the status of the Azerbaijani family institution in society and state life are enough high. The question found that the percentage of respondents who do not adequately assess the importance of the family in society is very low, which is not a worrying level for the current situation as a whole.
About two-thirds of respondents, or 61.2%, think that the 21st century Azerbaijani family is much more different than the 20th century family, while 25.8% think it is partially different. This indicator shows that the changes in the evolution and dynamics of the family during independence have been sufficiently felt.
The answers to the question "What do you see as the harmful effects and dangers against our family values" show that among the factors that damage our family values are the influence of social networks, the material and economic situation and foreign soap operas in the top three. It is interesting that, about one in four people think that the continuation of the quarantine regime is dangerous for the family institution.
The attitude towards getting married - the age of marriage has also had interesting results. In general, respondents think that women should get married by the age of 27 at the latest. The percentage of respondents (46.5%) who consider the age of 23-27 to be the most suitable age for women to get married, which is in our opinion an interesting result, indicates that early marriage is not a condition for women, that they are active in education and career. It also points to the strengthening of ideas about the modern family model.
Attitudes toward marriage between men and women of other nationalities, and abortion, as well as the sex-selective abortion, are remembered with different results.
For example, 55.9% of male respondents disapprove of a woman of the same nationality marrying a man of another nationality. A similar situation is observed regarding the marriages of people of different religions.
Very few people (less than 5%) are in favor of abortion and sex-selective abortion. Absolute majority (90%) disapproves of sex-selective abortion, no group differences have been observed in this regard.
Against the background of attitudes towards marriage, children, family members, let's look at the attitudes of couples about how many months they can adapt to the new family environment after marriage:
Adaptation to the new marriage environment in family relations is important in the formation of the foundation of stability in the family and its socio-psychological basis. According to family psychology, the parties should evaluate the first 3 years of marriage as an adaptation to a new environment - the family environment, try to get to know the family members of the other party, pay attention to what their expectations are. According to global statistics on the duration of marriage and divorce, divorce in the 4th year after marriage ranks first in the world.
In recent years, the birth rate in Azerbaijan has been declining. Thus, the decrease in the number of large families and the increase in the number of families with single child are worrying trends. The socio-psychological reasons for the increase in single-parent families are also in the forefront. The decrease in the number of children in the family indicates an unequivocal violation of the reproductive and educational functions of the family.
In modern times, it is difficult to raise a child, to provide a comprehensive education, to ensure the future. In this case, most families are content with one child. Today, the family structure in Azerbaijan is completely different in terms of the number of children. In a single-parent family, the child becomes the only object of care and attention cherished by the parents, which in many cases delays the formation of the child's sense of independence and adulthood.
In turn, it is difficult for children in single-parent families to get socialized.
Preparation for family life covers a whole system of ideas - socio-moral, psychological, pedagogical, legal, financial-economic, medical, physiological-hygienic training. The outlook of young people who make serious decisions, such as getting married, is crucial. In the modern family model, the individual choice of those who get married has become a dominant trend. Choices related to marriage and divorce are also given individually. An unintentional decision to marry plays an important role in the increase in the number of divorces. Families that are formed "quickly" tend to break up quickly.
It is important to determine who is most involved in household activities, division of responsibilities and decision-making, as well as household chores.
In the division of responsibilities and decision-making, cooking and serving food appears to be the least common household activity for couples (18.7%). However, in 62.2% of families, both parents spend the same amount of time playing and spending time with their children.
Also, according to 58.9% of respondents, both parents are involved in the upbringing of children.
In families, the issue in which both parties are equally most involved in decision-making is related to future plans (84.6%). In 76.3% of families, cooking is done only by women.
Although 73.3% of families do not have outside interference in their decisions, 14.3% of families have in some frequency, and 12.1% of families rarely have outside influences.
In 48.7% of families both parents participated in decisions about the number of children in the family. In 35.4% of families, it happened without a plan.
Addendum: The majority of families (70.4%) said they had never used contraceptives (condoms, drugs). 7.3% of respondents always use them. Although the final decision on contraceptive use is made jointly by both parties in most families, women predominate in decisions involving only one party. The frequency of contraceptive use in cities and villages is significantly higher than in settlements (x = 21.578 (6), p <0.05).
The section on family`s economic care and problems clarifies whether a family has a credit, debt or not.
Along with socio-psychological reasons, material and socio-economic factors play a decisive role in increasing the stability of families and the stability of family relations. In this regard, the question "Does your family currently have a credit or debt?" is addressed to the respondents.
Questions in different directions - "Food expenses"; "Children's expenses"; "Transportation costs"; "Rental Expenses"; "Utility payments"; "Clothing costs"; "Communication (telephone, internet) expenses"; "Health / drug costs"; "Recreation Expenses"; "Self-care expenses" and about other difficulties were asked of the respondents.
What are the income level and main expenditures of the Azerbaijani family?
The monthly income level (as a family) of 35.5% of respondents varies between 1-250 manats, and 35% between 251-500 manats. While the monthly income of one in four families is 501-1000 manats, only 4.7% of households earn more than 1001 manats.
The percentage of working parents was the majority of respondents. It is known that 86.8% of respondents are male parents and 41.8% are female parents. Monthly wages (public sector) (50.3%), benefits (35.5%) and daily income (27%) are the three most common sources of income for families.
In almost 20% of families where at least one of the parties works, difficulties in their work affect their family relationships to one or another degree.
63.6% of families consider themselves to be middle-class and 35.4% to be low-income.
As in the traditional family model, 80.8% of the respondents answer to the question "Who mainly makes the decision on the use of the family budget?" that decisions are made by men. Only 52.8% of women participate in decision-making.
In addition, the income dynamics observed in the last three years was calculated.
Potential problems and sources of stress in family. What are the main reasons of problems in your family?
As can be seen, the source of the problems is mainly related to material issues, followed by misunderstandings about the child, poor living conditions, and jealousy.
Directions - psychological, material, physical, etc. sides of socio-cultural activity of the family of the last period, including COVID - 19 pandemics, were investigated.
Attitude to divorce. What is the number of divorces among the families around you?
The surveyed families were asked about the scale and reasons for the divorces they observed around them. Only 28.7% said that there were many or some divorces among the families in the area where you live. Divorce motives such as material reasons, infidelity and infertility have almost the same rate (around 22%).
Respondents believe that the marriage contract protects the rights of women more. At the same time, it is indicated that the marriage contract has a negative socio-psychological effect on married couples. Respondents' answers such as "It threatens to prolong marriage"; "It's an indication of people's mistrust of each other"; "The contract is irrelevant because the parties have not formalized their property" show that trust and confidence are the basis of the family, proving that liberal rules and innovations are crucial in the traditional family model.
Although 45.9% of respondents were unaware of the establishment of a mediation service, 33.8% had positive expectations of this service. This indicator reveals the need for awareness about the establishment of a mediation service.
33% of respondents think that women's rights are fully protected in our families, 53.1% think that they are partially protected.
73% of respondents say they will not divorce even if there is a problem in the family. The vast majority - 91% - disapproves of the marriage of girls under the age of 18.
As can be seen from the diagram, in the last 3 years, the majority of respondents have not applied to any organization regarding family issues.
In order to study public opinion on the relationship between parents and children, the questions asked to the respondents give an idea of what methods they prefer in the upbringing of their children. "In raising your children, do you prefer to communicate with them or treat them harshly?" In response to this question, those who prefer to communicate are in the majority by percentage.
Although about 15% of families do not value religious values, 26.6% of respondents said they based their lives on religious values. Almost half of the families try to reconcile religious and secular values.
In the field of state family policy:
- Considering the current trends in state family policy in Azerbaijan, global challenges and threats to our family institution, it is relevant to update the transformation of the family model in the desired direction.
- If the current model of the state family policy is compared with the world models of "liberal, social-democratic and market economy", it cannot be applied to any of them. The content of family policy, which is currently considered successful, is "paternalistic-conservative" and consists of the implementation of the most sensitive care and attitude of the state to the family.
- Development of the “State Family Strategy” is one of the first issues on the agenda; It is important to develop a new National Action Plan, state programs "Azerbaijani family", "Strong family - strong state".
- New strategic documents should reflect the definition of moral and ideological foundations, family values, directions of their formation, protection and strengthening. Synthesis of family policy directions such as "defamilization" (the highest state support for the family, creating opportunities for parents to work if there are infants in the family, availability of a system of child care "from infancy to school age" (Finland, etc.) and "refamilization" (strengthening the policy of social support for families with children by creating a family-work balance, the choice of a model that could increase the duration and payment of maternity leave (Switzerland, Japan, etc.) can be discussed;
- Considering the recommendations of foreign and local studies on the increase in the number of boys in Azerbaijan, the consequences of the trend of masculinization of the population which is very serious and even according to the most optimistic scenarios it will not change until 2050, urgent steps must be taken. A Special Monitoring System within The State Committee on Family, Women and Children's Issues (SCFWC) should be established in order to allow monitoring and regulation all processes.
The fact that 33.8% of respondents have positive expectations of mediation service (out-of-court settlement) requires the establishment of a world-wide institution of "Family Mediation" under the SCFWC and increasing its role as a mechanism for resolving family conflicts.
- It is thought-provoking that the survey has a very low level of awareness of the existence of relevant bodies regulating family issues, and the fact that the majority of respondents have not applied to any institution dealing with family issues in the last 3 years. These indicators reveal that families are "alone" with their plenty of problems.
In the field of family welfare, family-oriented social policy
- The need of the day is to move from the model which sees the family as a subject of social policy to the model of partnership in which the family and the state share equal responsibilities.
- There is only one direction of family policy in Azerbaijan - existential policy (support for the most disadvantaged) while in general it has social, demographic and other directions too. It is important that other families be included in the attention of the relevant and competent authorities.
- There is a need to increase state support for young families, child care, increase the duration and payment of maternity leave;
- It is important that the amount of "social benefits" is continuously indexed, despite rising prices. This means that every stage of a child's life and development - kindergarten, school, sports, clubs, courses, trainings, institutes, etc. becomes a complex problem that parents have to solve personally. Under these conditions, parents think that children are "problems and headaches", and a decrease in the number of children in the family becomes inevitable.
- Implementation of measures aimed at supporting young families within the framework of the "Great Return" program, construction of "Youth Campus in Karabakh" would be relevant. The creation of new jobs for young people, the construction of houses, the provision of land shares can be a great incentive for them, it can also bring a revival to devastated lands.
- "The Young Family in Karabakh" project, with the implementation of detailed social support programs within the state family and child policy, can bring the breath of youth and reconstruction determination to our liberated lands and once for all solution to the demographic problem in the future.
- One of the most important directions of the policy to support young families is the issue of housing. Currently, the number of young people who are unable to get married due to the lack of house is too high. Conditions for obtaining affordable housing should be facilitated, especially for young people. Social housing and mortgage conditions still do not cover many of our young people. They are forced to turn to other countries, and thus our country is deprived of material and physical potential.
- Taking short-term steps to address the shortage of preschools (kindergartens) may contribute to the balance of “work and family relationships”;
In the field of scientific, cultural and ideological, media and information policy
- It is relevant to put on the agenda the establishment of the “Azerbaijan Scientific Center for Familial Research” where family research is conducted in order to monitor and forecast the implementation of the state family policy, collect and analyze information on key areas, evaluate the effectiveness of its implementation;
- It is important to create a joint research format and increase the activity of about 90 NGOs dealing with women's issues in the Republic of Azerbaijan;
- The elimination of gaps in the moral, ideological and educational work related to family policy has been repeatedly emphasized in recent years in the program speeches of the President. The tendency to involve our young boys and girls in harmful ideologies from school age has intensified, and networking has become widespread;
- The media does not pay enough attention to the promotion of prosperous families and family life in terms of socio-cultural, career, children's success. The development and application of social media technologies is an important task in shaping the image of the Azerbaijani family.
- Organization of leisure time, communication and socialization of families, etc. are issues that most affect inculcation of family values. From this point of view, it would be relevant to establish "Family Houses" in the capital and regions, to organize numerous clubs, festivals and competitions that allow to spend time with family members.
- In many countries, the course "Family Studies" (Familistics) is taught at all levels of education, schools, high schools, universities to form family values, either as an independent or as part of social subjects. One of the steps to be taken is to prepare and teach this textbook urgently. No matter what it is called, the inclusion of family values in education curricula in the near future is a matter of destiny.
- Given that the family is a collegial phenomenon, the views and opinions of not only women, mothers and daughters, but also fathers and sons should be considered. It would be relevant to establish civil society organizations such as “Fathers Council”, “Father rights”, etc.
- Discussions on the establishment of "Family TV" in Azerbaijan can be useful.
- There is a need to establish national "Family Day", "Mother's Day" and "Father's Day", which have existed for 100 years in many countries around the world.
- The exemplary Azerbaijani family model and family values is not systematically promoted in local serials, media and TV channels against the background of foreign propaganda. The implementation of a family-oriented information policy in the media may be required.
- Considering the opinion of the respondents that the current Internet and TV space, programs and serials have a negative rather than a positive impact on our values, there is a great need for joint intensive projects of SCFWC, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture.