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You can't burn the house down because of one bedbug: a qualitative study of changing gender norms in the prevention of violence against women and girls in an urban informal settlement in India

Daruwalla, N; Hate, K; Pinto, P; Ambavkar, G; Kakad, B; Osrin, D; (2017) You can't burn the house down because of one bedbug: a qualitative study of changing gender norms in the prevention of violence against women and girls in an urban informal settlement in India. Wellcome Open Research , 2 , Article 48. 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.11805.2. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: The contribution of structural inequalities and societal legitimisation to violence against women, which 30% of women in India survive each year, is widely accepted. There is a consensus that interventions should aim to change gender norms, particularly through community mobilisation. How this should be done is less clear. Methods: We did a qualitative study in a large informal settlement in Mumbai, an environment that characterises 41% of households. After reviewing the anonymised records of consultations with 1653 survivors of violence, we conducted 5 focus group discussions and 13 individual interviews with 71 women and men representing a range of age groups and communities. We based the interviews on fictitious biographical vignettes to elicit responses and develop an understanding of social norms. We wondered whether, in trying to change norms, we might exploit the disjunction between descriptive norms (beliefs about what others actually do) and injunctive norms (beliefs about what others think one ought to do), focusing program activities on evidence that descriptive norms are changing. Results: We found that descriptive and injunctive norms were relatively similar with regard to femininity, masculinity, the need for marriage and childbearing, resistance to separation and divorce, and disapproval of friendships between women and men. Some constraints on women's dress and mobility were relaxing, but there were more substantial differences between descriptive and injunctive norms around women's education, control of income and finances, and premarital sexual relationships. Conclusions: Programmatically, we hope to exploit these areas of mismatch in the context of injunctive norms generally inimical to violence against women. We propose that an under-appreciated strategy is expansion of the reference group: induction of relatively isolated women and men into broader social groups whose descriptive and injunctive norms do not tolerate violence.

Type: Article
Title: You can't burn the house down because of one bedbug: a qualitative study of changing gender norms in the prevention of violence against women and girls in an urban informal settlement in India
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.11805.2
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.11805.2
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright: © 2017 Daruwalla N et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: India, Mumbai, gender role, poverty areas, social norms, violence
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10039806
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