Online Discussion from 4 until 13 February

Wikigender Online Discussion
Transforming social norms to prevent violence against women and girls

The SYNTHESIS REPORT OF THE ONLINE DISCUSSION is now available.Wikigender would like to hear your views, lessons learned and best practices or policies in ending violence against women.

Participate in this online discussion and be heard at a side event on the topic of social norms – e.g. traditions and practices that shape or restrict the decisions, choices and behaviours of groups, communities and individuals – and the prevention of violence against women (VAW) and girls, taking place on 4 March 2013 during the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York!.



The event will be co-organised by the OECD Development Centre and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Wikigender, Breakthrough, End Violence Against Women (EVAW UK), the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Partners for Prevention (P4P) (P4P) and Womankind Worldwide invite you to participate in this online discussion on “Transforming social norms to prevent violence against women and girls”. The inputs from the Wikigender community will be presented via a summary report at the event.

To participate, scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your comment from Monday 04/02 onwards.



The 2013 theme for the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is on the Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. In this context, Wikigender is hosting an online discussion on the topic, with a particular focus on social norms.The OECD Development Centre’s 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) found that while there has been progress in some areas, discriminatory social norms and practices which undermine gender equality and contribute to violence against women remain persistent and pervasive. For example, despite the introduction of laws, attitudes that normalise violence against women persist: on average, for the countries scored in the SIGI, around 1 in 2 women believe domestic violence is justified in certain circumstances. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is another discriminatory practice that remains prevalent in many countries in Africa (for example Somalia has the highest prevalence at 98%), despite improvements in some countries like Kenya, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Malawi. Missing women, stemming from female foeticide and sex-selective abortions, remains a serious problem in some countries, particularly in South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific.

Violence against women bears significant and enduring consequences for women and their communities. Violence against women is closely linked to poor health outcomes for women and girls, including maternal mortality and vulnerability to HIV; and it negatively impacts on women’s access to economic resources and opportunities both in and outside the household. This new online discussion will therefore be a unique opportunity to capture your views on how we can transform social norms to prevent violence against women. There are many initiatives and campaigns throughout the world raising awareness of VAW and seeking to create a different world. We particularly welcome contributions from implementers at program and project level, the sharing of reports or discussions on the topic, as well as contributions on VAW data.



  • Key issues: What type of social norms and attitudes contribute to violence against women? What are the entry points for changing social norms and attitudes that support violence against women? What are the challenges for changing social norms that support violence against women?
  • Examples, case-studies: In your area/region, what are examples of successful policies, initiatives, campaigns and programmes that tackle social norms related to violence against women and girls? Are there approaches that are more effective than others in changing attitudes? How can we harness the power of new technologies and the media? What role does men and boys’ involvement play?
  • Action required: What actions should governments, donors, international organisations and civil society take to transform social norms to prevent violence against women and girls? What type of data should be collected to monitor changes in social norms?


See past Wikigender online discussions.


Key Resources


Wikigender articles (a selection)


* We define social norms as traditions and practices that shape or restrict the decisions, choices and behaviours of groups, communities and individuals. Social norms or institutions set the parameters of what decisions, choices or behaviours are deemed acceptable or unacceptable in a society and therefore play a key role in defining and influencing gender roles and relations. Click here for a complete definition and examples.


We look forward to your participation! We strongly encourage you to disseminate news about the online discussion via your networks and on Twitter using #endVAW and the following link to this page: 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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