Report: “On Norms and Agency: Conversations about Gender Equality with Women and Men in 20 Countries,” World Bank


Report: “On Norms and Agency: Conversations about Gender Equality with Women and Men in 20 Countries,” World Bank

Cross-posted from World Bank:,,content…

Are Gender Norms Changing? 4,000 Women and Men in 20 Countries Weigh In

Available in: 中文العربيةEspañolFrançaisрусский

Feb. 26, 2013

Focus groups from nearly 100 communities around the world described the influence of gender norms in their lives and how those norms are relaxing to allow for more inclusive development.

In Sisum’s childhood home in a rural village of Bhutan, the men eat dinner first and the women must wait until they finish. But at her uncle’s house in the city, where she lived while in school, the family eats together. “Such practices are not allowed there,” she says. “They are all educated, and they feel it is not right.”

She remembers the day she asked her parents about the village’s tradition. Her mother told her the practice had been followed by their ancestors. When she later asked her father, she said, he became angry and lashed out at her mother, telling her that before the marriage she was nothing, and without him she would have no food or shelter. He said it was up to the men whether she ate at all, Sisum recalls. She feared her mother would have been beaten if her brother had not stepped in.

Gender study: What does equality to mean to you?

What does equality mean to you?

“Equality for me means that all of us should work and should enjoy the fruit of our work. I should not work alone while the man is just sitting there.” –Woman from urban Tanzania

“Equality between men and women means that they have a happy relationship and are comfortable talking to each other about their problems.” –Man from urban Fiji

“[Equality for my daughter allows her] to have power, an education, and … more opportunities” – Woman from rural Peru

The young woman’s experience reflects findings on the state of gender relations in a new study that convened focus groups involving more than 4,000 men and women from a range of ages, economic mixes, and rural and urban communities in 20 countries.

By working with single-sex focus groups in 97 communities, and discussing how gender norms shape the participants’ everyday lives and decisions, the researchers were able to look deeper into how gender norms affect decision-making at the household and individual levels, as well as markets and formal institutions.

Relaxing gender norms
The picture that emerged from every focus group across the 20 countries was of communities that continue to adhere to long-held gender norms of men as breadwinners and women in domestic roles. Children learn those norms early – “If we went to school, who would do the housework?” a girl from rural Tanzania asked.

But within many homes and communities, particularly in cities, there is a clear relaxing of traditional norms as more men and women assume new responsibilities.

Girls are being allowed to stay in school longer, and they are aspiring to become scientists and business leaders. In fact, a larger percentage of teenage girls than boys in the study – 60 percent to 40 percent – expressed the desire to earn a graduate degree. “Now women can go out to work and hold a high ranking job, even in the army and the police. This is a great change since our parents’ time,” a young man from urban Sudan said.

The women talked about wanting their daughters to be more courageous, and about their own increasing opportunities to earn incomes and about feeling more control over their lives. Most of the participants, with the exception of rural men, also nominally agreed with the ideal of equality between men and women. “The moment that you know that you can do things by yourself and not have to depend on a man is the moment you begin moving up,” said a woman from urban Tanzania.

Gender report cover

Live Chat: What drives empowerment?

Join World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte, Director for Gender & Development Jeni Klugman, and authors of the report for an International Women’s Day live chat.

Read the report: On Norms and Agency: Conversations about Gender Equality with Women….

The relaxing of gender norms is not necessarily changing traditional norms, though, as the conversations revealed.

In a village in Tanzania, for example, women are now making clay pots and growing vegetables to sell at market. The work is generating income, but within the community, it is viewed as an extension of women’s domestic duties and not as a breadwinner role.

Almost everywhere, the focus groups described men remaining the primary income earners and decision makers, and the allocation of free time, responsibilities, and power being unequally distributed. Nearly one-third of the groups said domestic violence was common and reinforced gender norms.

“Norms are changing, but the change is slow and incremental, and its pace does not always keep up with economic opportunities and development. As a result, women, as well as men, get excluded from opportunities perceived as gender-inappropriate,” said Carrie Turk, a World Bank gender specialist and co-author of the report. “Development programs can help alleviate these constraints, since change needs to happen on all levels to take effect: on individual, household and community levels.”

Lessons for development
“The development community needs to think about where it is financing gender-sensitive projects,” said study co-author Maria Beatriz Orlando, a social development specialist at the World Bank. “In the `90s, a lot of women’s development work focused on traditional gender roles – a lot of the projects were in crafts or in food. We have to question how much jam can be produced.”

“While respecting culture, we can also challenge these norms for the benefit of both women and men,” added Ana Maria Munoz,a co-author of the report, also co-authored by Patti Petesch and Maria Angelica Thumala.

Gender study education goals chart

How valuable is education to you?
“Education takes us to good places; It is our road to employment and a path out of poverty.” –Young man from Fiji

“Education lets us join the modern world and offers us better jobs now. In the past, it was not important because our people were farmers and did not pay attention to the future or look to change the present.” –Young man from Sudan

“Education is a girl’s best weapon to face the world.” –Young woman from West Bank and Gaza

Creating gender-neutral learning opportunities could also open more doors for future generations of both sexes, the authors write. Education and laws that help reduce domestic abuse can also increase empowerment and opportunities for women.

Laws and regulations promoting gender equality can promote change, but they must be well publicized and enforced. The study found that outreach and public understanding were uneven among the focus groups, particularly in rural communities. “In none of the sample countries did we find either men or women to be really well-informed of their rights, entitlements, or obligations with respect to key laws intended to promote gender equality,” the authors write.

The World Bank’s work

In its work, the World Bank assesses the gender dimensions of development within and across sectors in each country where it has active programs, and it uses Regional Gender Action Plans to lay out proposed directions to ensure that gender and inclusive development are better integrated into country and regional programming.

Gender is also a special theme of the Bank’s $49.3 billion fund for the poorest, the International Development Association. Its Gender Action Plan, started in 2007, has boosted attention to innovative programs to promote women’s economic empowerment. And the Road Map for Gender Mainstreaming directs more of the Bank’s technical assistance, projects, and programs towards giving women better economic opportunities.

The new focus group study adds to a body of knowledge that includes the World Development Report 2012 and suggests that when communities find ways to relax norms, men’s and women’s individual and collective sense of control over their futures can increase – and reinforce one another.


Job: Programme Specialist, Gender and Humanitarian Action, UN Women, New York, USA

For more information, please visit:

Application Deadline : 14-Feb-13
Type of Contract : TA International
Post Level : P-4
Languages Required : English
Duration of Initial Contract : 364 Days


UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

In undertaking its mandate to support “existing coordination mechanisms to generate a more effective United Nations system-wide humanitarian response to respond to the specific needs of women and girls…” UN Women seeks to complement and enhance the capacity of other UN entities to serve their respective mandates and deliver on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Based on UN Women’s new Humanitarian Strategy, the Humanitarian Unit develops and implements the programme of work on research, analysis and knowledge management and provides guidance, technical and strategic support to intergovernmental processes, the UN System and to UN Women staff working at country and regional level on issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment in disaster risk reduction/preparedness, emergency response and recovery. Furthermore, the Humanitarian Unit leads capacity development, coordination and advocacy efforts for a coherent approach on gender mainstreaming in humanitarian action and its linkage and synergy with sustainable development.

The scope of work of the Programme Specialist requires experience and in-depth understanding of gender equality and women’s empowerment issues, as well as expertise on humanitarian issues to translate UN Women`s strategic plans into results. It also requires developing mutually reinforcing partnerships with member states, civil society, regional institutions and the international humanitarian system, including relevant UN entities and bilateral donors to enhance awareness, commitment, visibility and resources to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The Programme Specialist reports to the Gender and Humanitarian Action Advisor, who provides the strategic leadership, guidance and oversight of the Humanitarian Unit and the formulation and execution of its programmes and operations. Under the overall guidance of the Gender and Humanitarian Advisor, the Programme Specialist will provide technical and advisory support to the humanitarian system, the UN system as well as UN Women regional and country offices and relevant units in headquarters such as Programme and Partnership Divisions. She/he will also work closely with the Gender and Humanitarian Action Programme Analyst and the Peace and Security Cluster in New York.

For more information, please visit:


Award: Rolex Awards for Enterprise


Cross-posted from Rolex:

Rolex Awards are given every two years. Applications have opened for the 2014 Awards, which will be exclusively devoted to young candidates. This means only those aged between 18 and 30 years are eligible to apply. The first set of Awards for Young Laureates took place in 2009 with the idea of supporting visionary young men and women at a critical juncture in their careers.

Applicants are asked to submit projects that tackle the world’s most pressing issues in five areas: science and health, applied technology, exploration and discovery, the environment, and cultural heritage. Projects are judged on their feasibility, originality, potential for sustained impact and, above all, on the candidates’ spirit of enterprise. Projects are examined rigorously to choose those that best meet the criteria and an independent Jury selects five winners from a shortlist.

Each Young Laureate will receive 50,000 Swiss francs over a period of two years. In addition, Rolex ensures all winners receive access to its network of more than 100 past Laureates, as well as the benefit of international publicity through media coverage and the Rolex Awards website.


View highlights from the programme’s 36 years

Discover common goals among the Laureates

Browse the remarkable collection of images and videos



Fellowship: Ms. Foundation for Women Fellowship


This information is cross posted from:

2013 Fellowship Application Deadline: February 15, 2013

The Ms. Foundation for Women Fellowship provides the opportunity for dynamic leaders to leverage our resources and support to develop promising strategies to shift policies and cultural conditions that enable inequality to thrive. Recognizing a particular urgency within marginalized communities, we fight for equal pay, reproductive justice, an end to violence and child sexual abuse, and countless other issues that impact women.

For the second consecutive year, we are pleased to announce the Ms. Foundation Fellowship. This one-year fellowship (Sept. 2013 to Aug. 2014), housed in the Ms. Foundation’s newly established Advocacy and Policy department, will fund a talented early to mid-career individual to pursue a project in support of the foundation’s ongoing work. If successful, the project may be eligible for continued funding.

We seek fellowship proposals that apply creative, relevant tactics to improve conditions for women regarding the following critical issues:

  • Child sexual abuse
  • Economic justice
  • Reproductive justice
  • Sexualization of girls

The Fellow selected will be a full-time, paid employee of the Ms. Foundation for Women and receive:

  • Financial compensation up to $85,000 for one year (dependent upon project terms and experience)
  • Health benefits
  • The opportunity to apply for a continuation grant of up to $50,000
  • Office space and equipment at the Ms. Foundation (for NYC-based applicants only)
  • Professional development, networking, and mentoring opportunities

Fellowship Application

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the Ms. Foundation’s 2012 Fellow, E. Tammy Kim’s, … Stay tuned for information about the 2013 process.


Peace and Collaborative Development Network calls for peace writers…


Peace X Peace is seeking writers for our Voices from the Frontlines!

Voices from the Frontlines are first-person reports on what is happening around the world, how it impacts women, and how women are building cultures of peace. We encourage submissions from everyone, including YOU! It does not have to be polished or professional. This is a wonderful opportunity to share your work, passion, and ideas with others.

Our network reaches over 18,000 subscribers. Please consider writing today. For more detailed guidelines and how to submit your story, visit or e-mail nawal(a)

Peace X Peace is the international organization that lifts and multiplies women’s voices, strengthens women’s capacity to connect across divides, promotes leadership and gender equity, and nurtures a global network of peacebuilders in 120 countries.

Report: Women and the Web Bridging the Internet gap and creating new global opportunities in low and middle-income countries


Report: Women and the Web Bridging the Internet gap and creating new global opportunities in low and middle-income countries

This information is cross posted from:

Women and the Web: Bridging the Internet gap and creating new global opportunities in low and middle-income countries

Executive summary
From activists in Egypt to coffee farmers in Colombia, the Internet has
transformed the lives of billions of people. It functions as a gateway to
ideas, resources, and opportunities that never could have been realized
before, let alone fathomed. All around the world, the Internet is helping
people to imagine new possibilities—and then, to make them happen.
But women and girls are being left behind.

On average across the developing world, nearly 25 percent
fewer women than men have access to the Internet, and
the gender gap soars to nearly 45 percent in regions like
sub-Saharan Africa. Even in rapidly growing economies the
gap is enormous. Nearly 35 percent fewer women than
men in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa have
Internet access, and nearly 30 percent in parts of Europe
and across Central Asia. In most higher-income countries,
women’s Internet access only minimally lags that of men’s,
and in countries such as France and the United States, in
fact exceeds it.

Bridging the Internet gender gap represents an opportunity
of immense proportions. Internet access is fast becoming
an indispensable entrée to a hyper-connected world. The
Internet contribution to global GDP is greater than the
GDP of Canada.1 In India, Internet-based economic activity
accounts for more than 5 percent of GDP growth.2 Without
access to the Internet, women lack access to its tools,
resources and opportunities. And because women are
critical collaborators in the effort to achieve development
goals such as reduced child malnutrition and mortality,3 or
increased economic growth,4 this gap disadvantages not just
women, but their families, communities and countries. As
the findings from this study demonstrate, Internet access
and usage:

• Boosts women’s income and income potential. Across
our surveyed countries, nearly half of respondents
used the web to search for and apply for a job, and
30 percent had used the Internet to earn additional

• Increases women’s sense of empowerment. More than
70 percent of Internet users considered the Internet
“liberating” and 85 percent said it “provides more

• Increases women’s sense of equity. While the
international community is split over whether access to
the Internet is a human right in itself, nearly 90 percent
of women Internet users surveyed said it should be.

A dedicated global effort to address the Internet gender
gap could double the number of women online within three
years. Although access to the Internet is spreading rapidly
in developing countries, women are nearly 25 percent less
likely than men to be online. This gender gap—which today
prevents a staggering 200 million women from participating
online—is projected to perpetuate. A dedicated and
coordinated effort by public and private sector actors
is urgently needed to accelerate the pace of progress
in bridging this gap. Without any concerted action, 450
million new female Internet users are projected to come
online in the next three years, simply as a result of organic
growth in Internet penetration. We believe progress can
be accelerated to add 600 million new female Internet
users within three years, rather than 450 million, which
would double the number of women and girls online. As
this report will explain, doubling the women and girls online
in such a short timeframe is an ambitious but eminently
achievable goal—given a concerted multi-stakeholder
campaign. This is an opportunity worth urgently pursuing
because the faster the internet gender gap is closed, the
sooner women, their families, communities and countries
will realize the significant socio-economic benefits that can
be unlocked through access to the Internet.

Enabling Internet access for an incremental 150 million
women promises immediate—and immense—benefits.
Seeing another 600 million women online would mean that
40 percent of women and girls in developing countries
would have access to the transformative power of the

As a result, it would…
1 “The great transformer: The impact of the Internet on economic growth and prosperity,”
McKinsey Global Institute. 2011.
2 “Online and coming: the Internet’s impact on aspiring countries: Mexico,” McKinsey &
Company. 2012.
3 Each additional year of female education reduces child mortality by 18 per thousand.
The World Bank Group, “Girls’ Education: Designing for Success,” The World Bank Africa
Region Human Development. As cited in Murphy, S. “Investing In Girls’ Education: An
Opportunity for Corporate Leadership.” Harvard Kennedy School. 2009.
4 Each 1 percent increase in the level of women’s education generates .3 percent in
additional economic growth.

Knowles, S., P.K. Lorgelly, and P.D. Owen. 2002. “Are
Educational Gender Gaps a Brake on Economic Development? Some Cross-Country
Empirical Evidence.” Oxford Economic Papers 54: 118-149. As cited in Murphy, S.
“Investing In Girls’ Education: An Opportunity for Corporate Leadership.” Harvard
Kennedy School. 2009.

To read to the full report, please visit: