Table of Contents
What is ALIGN?
The Advancing Learning and Innovation on Gender Norms (ALIGN) project convenes a Community of Practice (CoP) and digital platform, www.alignplatform.org, for shared learning on gender norms and norm change. ALIGN connects a global community of researchers and thought leaders to share learning on the impact of harmful gender norms and the leading knowledge approaches to gender norm change.
The digital platform contains a resource library and curated resource guides. Content will expand to cover a range of thematic and topical areas including on gender norms and: education and life skills, health and well-being, women’s economic empowerment, gender based violence and cross cutting issues such as child marriage, social protection, men, boys and masculinities, and tools and methodologies. Content includes curated materials to guide readers through topics and relevant sources, recommended reading lists, annotated bibliographies, think pieces, blogs, and case studies.
ALIGN is managed by the Overseas Development Institute and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
How does ALIGN define gender norms?
How people understand ‘norms’ differs, depending on their background (see the next section). ALIGN defines social norms as the implicit, informal rules that most people accept and abide by. Social norms are influenced by belief systems, the economic context, and sometimes by perceived rewards and sanctions for adhering to (or not complying with) prevailing norms. Norms are embedded in formal and informal institutions and produced and reproduced through social interaction. They change when sufficient numbers of people choose to act (or are compelled to act) in a different way, thus creating a new norm. For example, norms about pre-marital sex are changing among adolescents in many contexts through peer influence, even if this is not explicitly acknowledged by their elders or in idealised descriptions of gender norms. Behaviors can be different from publicly expressed attitudes and agreed norms.
Gender norms are a sub-set of social norms that describe how people of a particular gender (and often age) are expected to behave, in a given social context. Gender norms often reflect and reinforce unequal gender relations, usually to the disadvantage of women and girls and to men and boys who do not conform to the prevailing gender norms. Gender norms are generally understood in a binary way – defining the expected behaviour of people who identify as, or are identified by others as male or female – and generally do not accommodate non-binary or gender-fluid identities.
Resource library, curated content and blog
ALIGN aims to further knowledge and innovation on gender norms and aims to keep gender norms firmly on the development agenda. For more information about ALIGN’s approach and research on gender norms, visit our Frequently Asked Questions about gender norms.
ALIGN at the IAAH in Delhi, 2017
ALIGN helps fill gaps in knowledge by collating a commissioning a range of resources which are accessible in open access form on the platform, www.alignplatform.org.
ALIGN’s resources page provides a devoted resource library of key curated readings on gender norms on a range of themes. The first of its kind, this gender norms resource library will continue to grow based on recommendations from users. ALIGN’s commissioned curated content is written by experts to explore the latest knowledge, evidence and resources for addressing gender norms in varied contexts. ALIGN’s blog area will expand over time to contain expert comment on work to address harmful gender norms. This will grow to include perspectives on policy, research and programming.
ALIGN has run two funding windows – one, to fund innovative small research translation projects on gender norms, and a second, to fund several regional and international convenings to bring stakeholders together to discuss gender norms. Information on the fund awards, and opportunities for future funding, will be available at www.alignplatform.org/funding.
Organisations and initiatives
The digital platform also collates information about organisations and initiatives working to challenge and change harmful gender norms globally, available at https://www.alignplatform.org/organisations-initiatives. To profile your organisation or initiative that works on gender norms to add to our list, please email email@example.com.
What can you do to join the community of practice?
To join the Community of Practice, simply visit the site and sign up for our newsletter. There are many ways to be involved with ALIGN. These include:
- Recommend a resource for the resource hub
- Share the platform with your networks through social media or email
- Follow us on Twitter
- Suggest a project, organisation or initiative working on gender norms to profile on the organisations and initiatives page
- Develop written content such as blogs, case studies and recommended reading lists
- Engage in ALIGN’s and webinars
- Provide news on gender norms research, programming and funding for ALIGN newsletters
- Apply for funding
- Participate in ALIGN’s convenings
- Provide ongoing feedback to the platform development team
ALIGN hosts events globally to convene experts to discuss gender norms. To follow ALIGN’s events, visit https://www.alignplatform.org/events.
For more information, please e-mail ALIGN coordinator Rachel George at firstname.lastname@example.org
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