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Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment: Social Norms Landscaping Study

An increasing body of evidence shows the importance of addressing social norms as an essential component of women’s economic power. This report, produced by the USAID Women’s Economic Empowerment Community of Practice (USAID WEE CoP), focuses on the learning question, “What are proven and evidence-based existing approaches that governments, private sector entities, civil society organizations, and societies are using to shift social norms to support and increase women’s economic power and gender equality?” It relies on primary and secondary data collection conducted between May and September 2021. Based on a literature review of 118 documents and interviews with 11 key informants, the researcher developed a typology to identify and explain approaches with the strongest evidence of effectiveness in shifting social norms that advance women’s economic power and gender equality. Interventions were then ranked as proven, promising, and potential, based on the evidence-ranking criteria. The researcher identified four proven interventions, three promising interventions, and one potential intervention, which are outlined in the Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment: Social Norms Infographic. The report also outlines six gaps in evidence and provides nine key recommendations categorized in the planning and design; implementation; and monitoring, evaluation, and learning stages of programming.

A full elaboration on the methodology and limitations as well as a complete list of documents consulted for the literature review are included in the supplemental annexes to this report.

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