15 Jan

Qualities in boy and girl children in the Caucasus – window into cultural differences?

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Fairly regularly people ask me how the Caucasus countries are similar and different. For the most part the 3 countries share a lot. But there are some meaningful differences, to me, qualitatively.

But one way to look at this is to think about how people raise their children. I don’t have any literature on this, but I *imagine* that there is a pretty solid argument that values passed onto children is a strong reflection of cultural values.

As such, from the 2007 Caucasus Barometer…

Hard work
Feeling of responsibility
Religious faith

were the choices given to participants (adults in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia) and they were asked “which of these qualities should be encouraged in boy/girl children?” and they could choose multiple ones.


In all countries and across both genders, hard work was the most popular quality. Feeling of responsibility was also rated pretty highly.

Looking at this overall, there were a few interesting blips.

Starting at the top, Armenians were much less likely to want to encourage independence in boy children. This was also the case for girl children (although, notably, girls were much less likely to be encouraged to be independent than boys in all the countries.)

Azerbaijanis were much more likely than Armenians or Georgians to encourage imagination in their children. It is also possible that the way that the word imagination was translated could have impacted this. Of all of these, I think that it is the vaguest term.

Armenians are much more likely to teach their children tolerance. Let’s all think of this for a bit.

Determination was fairly popular trait for boys, but Armenians were much more likely to pick this than Azerbaijanis or Georgians.

Georgians, unsurprisingly, were the most religious.

Now, obedience and modesty – these are key issues for Caucasus girls. And in all countries, this was emphasized for girls much more than boys. Armenian in particular had a very high rating for these. I would suggest, however, that translation could have come into play. There are some ways to translate “modesty” that imply sexuality, for example.

But all, in all, I think that this does say something about the similarities and differences between these countries.

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