Transformed attitudes, beliefs and norms

Unequal gender attitudes, values, beliefs and norms are powerful drivers of violence against women. These include individual beliefs and norms around what it means to be a man or woman, unequal gender roles in the home, community and broader public life, attitudes condoning violence, and blaming or stigmatising survivors. Efforts to promote positive attitudes, beliefs and norms about gender are therefore essential to reduce violence against women in a long-term and sustained way, achieve gender equality and create happy, healthier and safer communities.

The objective of this strategy is to promote positive and egalitarian attitudes, beliefs and norms, challenge male power and privilege, female subordination and discrimination, and condemn the acceptability of violence against women.

Interventions in this strategy are also cross referenced in Relationship skills strengthened, Environments made safe and Child and adolescent abuse prevented strategies with specific focus on challenging norms through individuals or groups, in institutions and key sectors or among children and adolescents. Therefore, users should also read these other strategies.

Types of interventions

Interventions in this strategy require intense work with communities to shift not only individual beliefs and behaviours but also norms at a larger level to shift the balance of power towards gender equality.
They include:

1.Community mobilisation in which community volunteers and activists are trained and supported to engage with women and men in participatory activities to challenge unequal power relations and norms and instead, form egalitarian norms and relationships.
2.Group-based workshops with women and men including workshop-based approaches with peer groups to build positive attitudes and beliefs through critical reflection about power and norms.
3.Group education working solely with men and boys to promote gender-equitable attitudes, beliefs and norms. These workshops also use critical reflection and participation around power and norms.
4.Social marketing campaigns involving the use of “edu-tainment” through television or radio along with face-to-face group education activities to promote egalitarian attitudes, beliefs and norms.

There are also interventions to empower adolescent girls that should be cross-referenced under the Empowerment of women strategy. Those requiring a whole-school approach are cross-referenced under Environments made safe, while those aiming to build relationship skills among adolescents are cross-referenced under Relationship skills strengthened. Therefore, users interested in child and adolescent abuse prevention strategies should read these other strategies as well.


See pages 5-7 of the T strategy summary brief for evidence for interventions under this strategy

programme examples

Community mobilisation:

SASA (Global, 25+ countries)
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SHARE (Uganda)
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COMBAT (Ghana)
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Group-based workshops with men and women:

Stepping stones (Global, 40+ countries)
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Indashyikirwa (Rwanda)
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Transforming masculinities (DRC)
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Group education with men and boys alone:

Yaari Dosti (India)
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Ethiopian male norms initiative
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Social marketing:

Bell Bajao (Ring the bell, India)
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Soul City (South Africa)
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Sexto Sentido (Nicaragua)
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