1 July 2016

The social norms factor: How gendered social norms influence how we empower women in market systems development

Author: Erin Markel, Emilie Gettliffe, Linda Jones, Emily Miller, Laura Kim
Published by: BEAM Exchange
View report
First page of report

Development programmes taking a market systems approach increasingly recognise the important role that social issues play in shaping economic development outcomes. Despite this, most market systems and women’s economic empowerment programmes continue to have a limited understanding of how social factors influence human behaviour. 

To address this gap, this paper explores how social norms influence women’s economic empowerment in market systems development, and what practical lessons might be learned. The report briefly documents how gendered social norms are currently understood in academic research, then attempts to present the current state of practice for market systems programmes via two in-depth cases, and seven mini-cases. The evidence around defining, applying, measuring and documenting good practices in programming for gendered social norms in market systems is in its very early stages. Moreover, the practices, lessons and tools documented in this report have not been tested across different contexts, which would greatly impact implementation and results. Therefore, this report hopes to add to this initial evidence base by documenting current practices, putting forth promising programmatic strategies and future recommendations that we hope can be further explored, tested, and piloted to eventually document impact and good practice.