Social Norms Diagnostic Tool: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights & Gender-Based Violence

Authored by: Anam Parvez Butt, Kristine Valerio, Imogen Davies

Categories: Global Public Health, Human Rights, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Economic Participation, Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Region: No Region
Year: 2020
Citation: Parvez Butt, Anam et al. "Social Norms Diagnostic Tool: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights & Gender-Based Violence." Oxfam. November 2020.

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Executive Summary

Research into discriminatory social norms identifies many ways in which they may curtail the ability of women and girls, transgender and gender non-conforming people to break the cycle of poverty, and access the resources and services they need to make autonomous decisions about their lives and realise their social, political and economic rights.

This Social Norms Diagnostic Tool guidance document is a set of participatory exercises designed to help programme teams to identify and discuss social norms, perceptions and expectations that shape, constrain or promote gender-based violence (GBV) and intimate partner violence (IPV); child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM); and women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) within their contexts, and to develop initial ideas for change strategies.

The tool is rooted in a feminist participatory action research approach in how it applies best-practice research methods for diagnosing social norms and the Socio-Ecological Model on behaviour change. It uses participatory and transformative methods such as Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to engage community members not simply as research participants but as agents of change identifying solutions to their problems. It is also designed to recognise and examine unequal power inequalities by including questions around who makes key decisions, whose opinions matter the most, and who are the most influential people and the nature of their influence. In the key activities, duty bearers, community members, men, and women are engaged separately, to help address these power inequalities in a safe space.