Journal article

Nudges for gender equality? What can behaviour change offer gender and politics?

Author: Georgina Waylen
Published by: University of Manchester
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This article explores what behaviour change, with its associated methods, approaches and policy prescriptions, can offer gender and politics. After outlining the key elements of behaviour change, it considers the potential of its associated methods, primarily field experiments.

The third section considers the potential contribution of behaviour change approaches by examining one area – social norms – that has recently become more salient for gender and politics. Finally, it examines behaviour change’s gender equality policy implications (‘nudges’). It concludes that despite significant problems, a critical, pluralist and problem-driven gender and politics scholarship should engage critically with behaviour change while remaining aware of its limitations.

Key messages

  • A pluralist, heterodox and critical gender and politics scholarship should explore the potential of behaviour change.
  • Methods associated with behaviour change, particularly field experiments, can provide some important insights.
  • Behaviour change approaches, particularly around social norms, can yield important insights.
  • Behaviour change policy prescriptions (nudges) are a useful addition to gender equality measures.