Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Which strategies empower adolescent girls?

Following last week’s blog post by Robbie, the Coordinator for Wikichild on our joint online discussion focusing on “The impact of discriminatory social norms on adolescent girls”, I wanted to share some key emerging strategies that came out of this global conversation that took place between 2-11 April. The final report will be available next week on both Wikigender and Wikichild, but in the meantime here is a preview of what you can expect to read in more detail:

First of all, it is clear that adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable to a wide range of social norms, depending on the country, the areas (urban vs. rural) and the socio-economic condition of the family. Among discriminatory social norms, participants identified the following: early marriage, female genital mutilation (GFM), son bias, discriminatory inheritance practices, various forms of violence against girls and the practice of female exclusion or ‘purdah’. Such practices discriminate against girls in terms of their physical integrity, their personal freedom and their status, making them more vulnerable to shocks (financial or climate-related) and depriving them of the possibility to take their own decisions as to how they want to live their lives and how they can contribute to their community.

A number of interesting strategies for change were shared:
  • Listen to the voices of adolescent girls and create spaces for peer support
  • Change attitude through awareness campaigns
  • Focus efforts on boys also
  • Challenge violence against girls
  • Target the gendered dimensions of well-being
  • Link adolescent girls’ empowerment with broader development programmes
  • Address multiple forms of disadvantage
  • Engage with all sectors and all actors
Stay tuned on www.wikigender.org and http://www.wikiprogress.org/index.php/Child_well-being for the full report! We thank everyone who participated in this discussion by sharing their experience, ideas and best practices and look forward to presenting the outcome document at our expert workshop on “Empowering adolescent girls by tackling social norms” in London on 26 April.

Special thanks to our online discussion partners Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Research Network (HBSC), the Department for International Development (DFID UK), ASCD – The Whole Child, the Girl Hub, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Plan (UK) for participating and actively engaging their networks in this important discussion!

Feel free to reply to this post and share your ideas for future online discussions on our platforms.

Estelle Loiseau
Wikigender Coordinator

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