On November 7, 2023, Banyan Global hosted “Shifting Social Norms to Advance Women’s Economic Power,” an evidence, learning, and connecting experience. More than 85 attendees representing over 41 companies and organizations across 14 countries joined the event both in-person at the Banyan Global office in Washington, D.C. and online.
- Engage Men and Boys – Using approaches that engage men and boys as allies help program participants realize stronger friendships, relationships, and partnerships beyond typical familial or spousal expectations. They provide pathways towards more gender equal norms and equal power.
- Household Methodologies – Household methodologies help open up conversations for families and communities to discuss, challenge, and shift social norms. However, people within a household or community come from different backgrounds and levels of understanding. It is important to find ways to reach everyone while also promoting inclusivity during dialogues so that all voices are heard. The most effective household methodologies are created with partners familiar with various local communities to make sure the tools and approaches will resonate and can drive transformation.
- Groups-based Collective Action and Learning – Collective power and action, through approaches such as VSLAs are critical for social norms change. Beyond the economic benefits, they help foster social solidary, provide a means of psychosocial support, and provide avenues for group-level influence. VSLAs can be a useful platform to identify social norms and provide a supportive role to address them.
- Social Norms Diagnostics – We often think we know why people do what they do, but in reality, we do not know. Therefore, it is essential to unpack norms in order to program effectively. It should not be seen as an extra step, but the first step.
We would like to extend a special thank you to our speaker, panelists, and moderators:
- Dr. Charla Britt, Consultant for Banyan Global, provided the keynote social norms research presentation outlining the landscape of evidence around existing approaches that governments, private sector entities, and civil society organizations are using to shift social norms and increase women’s economic power and gender equality. The presentation set the stage for two subsequent panels focused on four proven approaches—household methodologies, engaging men and boys, group-based collective action and learning, gender analyses and social norms diagnostics.
- Brian Heilman, Deputy Director of Research at Equimundo, discussed men as partners in women’s economic empowerment and the Journeys of Transformation program, including examples from Guatemala and Bangladesh. Mr. Heilman also shared approaches to ensuring men’s interests and commitments to gender equality remain at the forefront as they are recruited and engaged in social norm change programming. Equimundo recently released the fifth edition of the State of the World’s Fathers, which examines care equality around the world and efforts to reduce the impacts of unpaid care responsibilities that contribute to women’s economic inequality.
- Morgan Mickle, Senior Program Officer II in the Gender and Youth Practice at Banyan Global, discussed household methodologies and their effectiveness in shifting women’s economic power and bolstering gender equality. She specifically highlighted the Gender Action Learning System and Transformative Household Methodology as two interventions Banyan Global has applied and resulted in more balanced workload distributions and improvements in women’s decision-making, mobility, and access to and control over income within households. Ms. Mickle also moderated the first panel.
- Kalkidan Yihun, Program Coordinator for Women Respond at CARE, outlined CARE’s approach women’s economic empowerment and social norms, specifically platforms that bring women together for group-based action and learning such as Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs). She honed in on why VSLAs work and their outcomes. Ms. Yihun also discussed how women, through their VSLA groups, have responded global crises affecting their communities.
- Amélie Moretti, Senior SBC Advisor at MAGENTA, shared their approach to behavioral change and use of social norms diagnostics including key components and guiding principles to carry out methods. Ms. Moretti also highlighted common social norms barriers to advancing women’s economic power, ways to explore them through research, and how findings can be used in programming.
- Malini Patel, Senior Associate and Women’s Economic Empowerment Technical Expert in the Gender and Youth Practice at Banyan Global, moderated the second panel.
Please enjoy the following event resources!
To learn more about the social norms research presented and Banyan Global’s work, refer to:
- Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment: Social Norms Landscaping Study
- Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment: Social Norms Infographic
- Transforming Social Norms to Increase Economic Growth, DRC summary brief
- Transformative Change Through Social Norms Interventions, Ethiopia summary brief
- Transformative Household Methodology Training Materials
- Transformative Household Methodology Instructional Training Video
To learn more about CARE’s work, refer to:
- Gender Equality through Savings Groups: Gender Integration and Gender Transformative Approaches in VSLA Programming brief
- VSLA by the Numbers brief
- Beyond the Box: Village Savings and Loan Association: Annual Report 2023
- Women Respond website
To learn more about Equimundo’s work, refer to:
- State of the World’s Fathers 2023: Centering Care in a World of Crisis
- Journeys of Transformation: Engaging Men as Allies in Women’s Economic Empowerment
- Learning Brief – Key Outcome Evaluation Findings: Journeys of Transformation program to engage men as allies in women’s economic empowerment: Guatemala
To learn more about MAGENTA’s work, refer to: