a International Center for Research on Women

Washington, DC, United States

a International Center for Research on Women

Washington, DC, United States

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PubMed | a International Center for Research on Women, University of Dar es Salaam and Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Global public health | Year: 2015

In Tanzania, 44% of women experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime, but the majority never seeks help, and many never tell anyone about their experience. Even among the minority of women who seek support, only 10% access formal services. Our research explored the social and structural barriers that render Tanzanian women unable to exercise agency in this critical domain of their lives. We collected qualitative data in three regions of Tanzania through 104 key informant interviews with duty bearers and participatory focus groups with 96 male and female community members. The findings revealed numerous sociocultural barriers to help-seeking, including gendered social norms that accept IPV and impose stigma and shame upon survivors. Because IPV is highly normalised, survivors are silenced by their fear of social consequences, a fear reinforced by the belief that it is womens reporting of IPV that brings shame, rather than the perpetration of violence itself. Barriers to help-seeking curtail womens agency. Even women who reject IPV as a normal practice are blocked from action by powerful social norms. These constraints deny survivors the support, services and justice they deserve and also perpetuate low reporting and inaccurate estimates of IPV prevalence.


PubMed | a International Center for Research on Women, c International Center for Research on Women and b Consultant
Type: | Journal: Psychology, health & medicine | Year: 2017

Violence in childhood is a widespread human rights violation that crosses cultural, social and economic lines. Social norms, the shared perceptions about others that exist within social groups, are a critical driver that can either prevent or perpetuate violence in childhood. This review defines injunctive and descriptive social norms and lays out a conceptual framework for the relationship between social norms and violence in childhood, including the forces shaping social norms, the mechanisms through which these norms influence violence in childhood (e.g. fear of social sanctions, internalization of normative behavior), and the drivers and maintainers of norms related to violence in childhood. It further provides a review of theory and evidence-based practices for shifting these social norms including strategic approaches (targeting social norms directly, changing attitudes to shift social norms, and changing behavior to shift social norms), core principles (e.g. using public health frameworks), and intervention strategies (e.g. engaging bystanders, involving stakeholders, using combination prevention). As a key driver of violence in childhood, social norms should be an integral component of any comprehensive effort to mitigate this threat to human rights. Understanding how peoples perceptions are shaped, propagated, and, ultimately, altered is crucial to preventing violence in childhood.


PubMed | a International Center for Research on Women
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Global public health | Year: 2015

While the topic of women and water, sanitation and hygiene is a widely accepted concern among academics and activists, it continues to be an issue in developing countries with serious consequences. Based on a qualitative research conducted in rural Uttar Pradesh, India, the paper affirms that sanitation issues for women and girls are compounded by inequitable gender norms that put them at greater risk of experiencing violence and multiple health vulnerabilities. Women, despite having a high demand for safe toilet facilities, continue to practise unsafe sanitation. The findings highlight the role of three structural constraints as the key factors influencing toilet construction and use: poverty, inadequate sanitation policy and its implementation and gender-based power dynamics at the household level. The paper concludes by emphasising the relevance of engendering sanitation programmes and policies by involving women and girls in the planning process to ensure that dignified and gender-sensitive sanitation solutions are developed. The paper also stresses the need to have measures for strengthening and effectively implementing a sanitation policy for the poor and for programmes to work with both men and women to address gender power relations which influence toilet adoption and use.

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