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Wikigender/Wikichild Online Discussion
The impact of discriminatory social norms on adolescent girls

Read the synthesis report!

Wikigender and Wikichild would like to hear your views, lessons learned and best practices or policies on empowering adolescent girls. From 2-11 April 2013, we invite you to participate in an online discussion on “The impact of discriminatory social norms on adolescent girls” and to be heard at a workshop on “Empowering adolescent girls by tackling social norms” that takes place on 26 April in London. The event will be co-organised by the OECD Development Centre, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Department for International Development (DFID UK) and The Girl Hub. The inputs from the Wikigender and Wikichild communities in this discussion will be presented via a summary report at the event.This online discussion is organised in partnership with the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Research Network (HBSC), the Department for International Development (DFID UK), ASCD – The Whole Child, the Girl Hub, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Plan (UK). The discussion will close on 11 April 2013 at 17h (GMT+1).


This online discussion is organised in partnership with the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Research Network (HBSC), the Department for International Development (DFID UK), ASCD – The Whole Child, the Girl Hub, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Plan (UK).There is compelling evidence that adolescent girls are an under-invested segment of the society that could significantly help us reach the development goals. Numerous reports and campaigns highlight the link between discriminatory social norms affecting adolescent girls to development outcomes, such as ODI’s background note on “Adolescent girls, capabilities and gender justice: review of the literature for East Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia“. Many reports point out to the challenges experienced by adolescent girls along with solutions, such as: Plan’s Because I am a Girl 2012 report; “Girls Grow: A Vital Force In Rural Economies – A Girls Count Report On Adolescent Girls“, by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Plan’s “Adolescent Girls’ Views on Safety in Cities” report; Plan’s “Adolescent voices: experiences in implementing youth sexual and reproductive health and rights programmes” report; resources by ‘The Girl hub‘, a partnership between DFID and the Nike Foundation; and many more. Despite some progress, for example on gender parity in primary education, girls throughout the developing world continue to be constrained by the intergenerational transmission of poverty and gender inequality. The OECD Development Centre’s 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) also finds that discriminatory social norms have significant and enduring consequences for adolescent girls in terms of their health, access to economic resources and opportunities both in and outside the household.

This online discussion will be a unique opportunity to gather your views on:

  1. How discriminatory social norms shape the lives of adolescent girls by influencing their access to opportunities, resources and power
  2. Which interventions are the most effective in transforming such discriminatory social norms and practices*.

Participants will be invited to share their examples of successful approaches, recommendations and actions needed with the gender and development community.

* Discriminatory social institutions include, for example: early marriage, gender-based violence, the division of labour in the household, restricted physical integrity, limited fertility preferences and unequal inheritance rights. See more at www.genderindex.org.

See past Wikigender online discussions.


Guiding Questions

  • How do widely accepted social norms and practices (such as early marriage, son bias, etc.) hinder the empowerment of adolescent girls? What can be done about it?
  • How do these practices affect girls and boys differently? Are there examples of places (home, school, work, urban vs. rural areas) where girls are particularly at risk and why? What is your experience of measuring and monitoring changes in social norms?
  • How can the voices and perspectives of adolescent girls be brought into global development discussions? How can the balance between long term planning and short term project/donor cycles be justified?


Wikigender articles (a selection)


Wikichild articles (a selection)


We look forward to your participation! We strongly encourage you to disseminate news about the online discussion via your networks and on Twitter using #AdolescentGirls and the following link to this page: http://bit.ly/X4SWmw Anyone with an Internet connection is invited to participate in the discussion and we encourage you to express your views on this pressing issue.

Please note however that comments will be moderated to ensure that there is no spam disrupting the discussion.

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Key Resources