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Understanding changing social norms and practices around girls' education and marriage

Research report

Research report


Adolescent girls face unique challenges to the full development and exercise of their capabilities, and yet they may also hold the key to positive development outcomes that could reverberate across future generations. Investments to empower adolescent girls are increasingly recognised as critical to breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

The first year of field research (2012-13) was informed by the capabilities approach to development, underpinned by conceptual work on gender justice and entitlements. The research provided an overview of adolescent girls’ lives in our case study countries, capturing the status quo and complex interplay of forces that shape their wellbeing and capabilities in five domains: education, household and family relations; economic empowerment /access to resources; physical safety and health; psychosocial wellbeing; and political/civic participation.

This paper focuses on the lessons learned from the second year of field research that aimed to provide a more in-depth understanding of if, how and why discriminatory gendered social norms are changing so as to better inform relevant policies and programmes.

Carol Watson