Examining broad social norms and individual behaviors and beliefs that impact achievement of gender equality is an important focus of C-Change. An understanding of how gender and social norms undermine gender equality and negatively affect health outcomes and the wellbeing of both males and females is incorporated into C-Change implementation and capacity strengthening activities in social and behavior change communication (SBCC).
C-Change's operations research also investigates social and gender norms, which are defined as the social expectations about how men and women should behave. C-Change is implementing activities that confront gender inequality—for example, how it affects women's ability to protect themselves from HIV or their access to modern family planning. C-Change designs communication approaches to address inequalities that negatively affect health outcomes and wellbeing.
- In DR Congo, C-Change developed, tested, and evaluated a comprehensive approach to promote positive social and gender norms to prevent and mitigate school-related and gender-based violence among students ages 10–14 at primary and secondary schools. Activities and interventions also targeted school administrators, teachers, parents, and community members, using advocacy, community and social mobilization, and SBCC to change social and gender norms.
- In Tanzania, C-Change conducted a study among young married couples to determine the role of gender norms and female empowerment in decisions regarding contraceptive use. The study, Gender Norms and Family Planning Decision-Making, concluded that family planning messages and interventions should engage both men and women and encourage equitable decision-making.
- The Break the Chain program developed in Namibia addresses multiple concurrent partnerships, along with the impact of intergenerational and transactional sex on women and girls and the importance of healthy couples relationships and responsible fatherhood.
- C-Change's Program Guidance Brief provides information on how to incorporate male gender norms into the planning and implementation of family planning and reproductive health programs.
Gender Scales Compendium
The Gender Scales Compendium, developed by C-Change under USAID’s direction, can be used to assess gender-related attitudes and beliefs and evaluate the success of interventions incorporating gender approaches. This tool, developed with input from a broad range of researchers, grew out of a meeting of experts in March 2010. The compendium comprises eight scales that measure beliefs, attitudes, and practices relating to issues such as couples communication, decision-making about sex, household and parental responsibilities, gender-based violence, and societal acceptance of inferior roles for women and girls. Additional scales may be added. The meeting of March 2010 was the genesis of the compendium.
Gender Norms Meeting, March 2010
A meeting convened in March 2010 by C-Change under USAID's direction brought together researchers with expert knowledge of gender norm scales. They identified scales that have developed to measure adherence to gender norms and reviewed their use in measuring the success of interventions that aim to change gender norms. Participants supported the creation of an online compendium of gender scales that practitioners could use to assess gender-related attitudes and beliefs and evaluate health interventions that incorporate gender approaches. The Gender Scales Compendium that resulted includes gender scales developed by meeting participants as well as other scales they identified.
C-Change and the Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG) coordinated a meeting in March 2009 sponsored by USAID on male involvement and male gender norms with respect to family planning. The 33 experts who attended explored critical elements of family planning programs that successfully integrate male gender norms to improve reproductive health outcomes. The meeting resulted in a program guidance brief, Incorporating Male Gender Norms into Family Planning and Reproductive Health Programs. It details eight recommendations on designing, implementing, and evaluating family planning programs that incorporate a male gender norms component.