1 July 2018

Changing gender norms

Author: J-PAL
Published by: Breakthrough
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Changing gender norms report cover

This report comprises the results from a randomised control trial conducted by J-Pal South Asia, on Breakthrough's Taaron Ki Toli initiative, a school based gender equalisation programme in collaboration with the Department of Education, Government of Haryana.

About Breakthrough's Taaron Ki Toli Programme
Children adopt the gender attitudes that they are exposed to at home, in school and in their communities; as they grow older, these take root and define their behaviour and responses as adults. In India, gender stereotyping starts early in adolescent girls' lives – they find themselves being undervalued, neglected and unloved in their own homes and communities. Restricted mobility, low priority for schooling, early marriage, all push them towards confining domestic roles as they reach adulthood. Boys on the other hand are expected to step out into the world, since masculinity demands and grants them the right.

Believing that an alternative narrative is possible, Breakthrough, a human rights organisation working to make violence against women and girls unacceptable, developed its Taaron ki Toli intervention. The intervention came from the belief that by addressing gender stereotypes early enough in a very structured, phased manner, young adults can themselves become social change actors in their own settings. This can create a snowball effect in their communities and build bridges with those outside of the school system, as well as address the problem at a community level. It improves the quality of their family lives: for example girls are better able to participate in decision making relating to their family or community.

Taaron ki Toli is a first of its kind, 3-year, school based programme that works with adolescent boys and girls in classes 6-9 to shape their gender attitudes and beliefs. The programme was introduced in 150 government schools in Haryana across the four districts of Jhajjar, Sonepat, Panipat and Rohtak in 2014 and reaches 18,000 children.