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Changing gendered norms about women and girls at the level of household and community: a review of the evidence.

Glob Public Health. 2008;3 Suppl 1:42-57. doi: 10.1080/17441690801892307.

Changing gendered norms about women and girls at the level of household and community: a review of the evidence.

Keleher H, Franklin L.

Department of Health Science, Monash University, Peninsula Campus, Australia. Helen.Keleher@med.monash.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Gendered norms are embedded in social structures, operating to restrict the rights, opportunities, and capabilities, of women and girls, causing significant burdens, discrimination, subordination, and exploitation. This review, developed for the Women and Gender Equity Knowledge Network of the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, sought to identify the best available research evidence about programmatic interventions, at the level of household and community, that have been effective for changing gender norms to increase the status of women. The focus was on developing countries. A wide range of single and multiple databases were searched, utilizing database specific keywords such as: women and girls; men and boys; household and community; intervention; and gender norms. Key themes were identified: education of women and girls; economic empowerment of women; violence against women, including female genital mutilation/cutting; and men and boys. Types of interventions, levels of action, populations of interest, and key outcomes from evaluations are identified. Evaluations are limited, with little evidence or measurement of changes in gender equity and women’s empowerment. A key finding is, that targeting women and girls is a sound investment, but outcomes are dependent on integrated approaches and the protective umbrella of policy and legislative actions.

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