Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

Program Name/Specialization

Studies in Social Work Practice


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Cheryl-Anne Cait

Advisor Role

Thesis Advisor

Second Advisor

Dr. Ginette Lafrenière

Advisor Role

Thesis Co-Advisor


Abstract Immigrant spouses face culture shock in the host countries because they are disconnected from their social fabric and, at the same time, must adhere to the host countries' lifestyles. One of the immigrants' spouses' challenges is the marital conflicts that arise because of changing gender norms in the host countries and the absence of family support to solve their conflicts. The purpose of this study is to examine changing gender norms and traditional meditation's impact on marriage among Ethiopian immigrants living in Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph. The study asks overarching research question: what is the impact of changing gender norms and traditional mediation on marriage among Ethiopian immigrants? The study was guided by a constructionist epistemology to understand participants' beliefs and patterns of changing norms and traditional mediation's impact on marriage. A qualitative design and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from five married and divorced male and female participants. Thematic analysis was used to identify and analyze themes and patterns of changes. Findings highlight that marital relationship can be under constant tension with changes in gender norms. However, culturally constructed male-dominant norms can prevent men from acknowledging and adapting to changes. Couples also seek traditional mediation to ease the strain caused by shifting power in relationships. This study discusses implications for social work practice.

Key Words: Changing gender norms, traditional family mediations, immigrant male dominance gender norms, women empowerment, marital conflicts.


Recommended Citation Korsa, Dinku, "Biyyaa Baanus Biyyi Nu Keessaa Hinbaatu: Changing Gender Norms and Traditional Mediation Impacts on Marriage Among Ethiopian Immigrants in Three Southwestern Ontario Cities" (2022). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive).

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