Social norms are individuals' perceptions about which attitudes and behaviours are typical or desirable in their community.
By working with these norms we can reduce societal discrimination against adolescent girls in the developing world without alienating communities.
This paper provides a critical evaluation of the evidence available on how social norms can be used to promote behaviour change. It is one of a series of five Issue Papers commissioned by the Department for International Development UK (DFID) and Girl Hub which synthesise key evidence on integrated approaches to economic assets, health, education, social norms and preventing violence in improving the lives of adolescent girls.
Details of the programmes analysed in this report can be found in this accompanying mapping document.
"Many programmes designed to reduce societal discrimination against adolescent girls focus on changing individual attitudes as a way to change behaviours, for example, reducing individual approval of female genital cutting/mutilation (FGC/M) or reducing individual acceptance of sexual harassment of girls in schools. Less frequently, such programmes focus on, or include interventions targeting, social norms. The distinctions between these concepts are important and often overlooked, so we begin by establishing definitions that will guide the rest of our review."
Laurie Ball Cooper, Erin K. Fletcher for DFID & Girl Hub