Journal article
20 January 2021

Understanding adolescents experiences with gender-based norms in India through a participatory storytelling game

Author: Suchi Bansal, Ellen McCammon, Luciana E. Hebert, Shirley Yan, Crystal Tyler, Alicia Menendez, Melissa Gilliam
Published by: International Journal of Adolescence and Youth
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First page of article

In India, gender inequalities have deleterious effects on reproductive health outcomes among women and girls. This study used an interactive storytelling game as a qualitative data collection approach to learn about adolescents’ experiences and societal norms regarding gender. Eight sessions were conducted with a total of 30 girls and 10 boys (ages 15–17). Participants created characters, themes, and locations for the stories and shared experiences about gender through their characters. Sessions were recorded, transcribed, translated, and analysed for emergent themes. Themes included: interest in and prevalence of romantic relationships among adolescents, stigma associated with adolescent relationships and its influence on individual norms, and girls’ experiences of harassment. Findings suggest that the use of a qualitative storytelling game is one way to understand the experiences of adolescents around sensitive issues such as gender. They also suggest a need for interventions focused on improving gender attitudes among adolescents, fostering parent–child communication, and strengthening the policy response to girls’ harassment.