Briefing paper

Measuring changes in social and gender norms: Practical solutions to a complex problem

Published by: Plan International
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First page of briefing paper

This paper presents the findings of a review of practices in measuring changes in social and gender norms in development. The review was commissioned by Plan International to inform its own approach in measuring changes in social and gender norms. The findings are though relevant to other development organisations, many of whom are seeking simpler and most cost-effective ways to measure changes in social norms associated with their programming.

The review found that many current approaches to measuring changes in social and gender norms are both complex and resource intensive. Whilst these efforts are important for building the evidence base, they are not suitable for all interventions tackling social and gender norms, nor are they easily applied without specialist expertise. There is therefore a need to develop simpler approaches, which can be implemented by development organisation staff with limited resources and specialist norms measurement expertise.

This paper seeks to respond to this need. After reviewing current practices in the measurement of social norms, it sets out six recommendations to guide development organisations in their efforts to measure changes in social norms associated with their programming. The recommendations seek to focus on the essentials of social norms change measurement, which can easily be operationalised by most implementing agencies.