Social Institutions: Transforming them to empower women
Transforming social institutions paving the way towards gender equality
For the past few years, the OECD Development Centre has been researching how discriminatory social institutions (the long-lasting codes of conduct, norms, traditions, and informal and formal laws) can drive gender inequality across the world.
In March 2010, the OECD Development Centre published the Atlas of Gender and Development: How social norms affect gender equality in non-OECD countries, which provides regional and country-specific information as well as country rankings based on the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI). While social institutions are often viewed as static, in fact they do change over time and can therefore be a powerful mechanism in changing socioeconomic and political outcomes.
We would like to document some positive examples of how social institutions have been negotiated and transformed at the local, national or regional level resulting in the empowerment of women or promotion of gender equality. For example, India has launched several innovative programmes to tackle the problem of early marriage, some of which have been documented in a report by the International Center for Research on Women.
Examples from the South
- In Nepal, Women for Human Rights has secured significant changes to dangerous and discriminatory laws against widows and single women.
- The Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe lobbied successfully for national domestic violence legislation.
- In one region of Ethiopia, KMG Ethiopia helped reduce the prevalence of female genital mutilation from 97% to 4%.
- And in Ghana, the Gender Centre is persuading entire districts to abandon the harmful traditional practice of widow inheritance.
- Ending Harmful Practices through Community-led Social Change in Senegal
- Ethiopian Women Gain Status Through Landholding
- Sri Lankans Play Around with Gender Stereotypes
- ↑ The Guardian, Poverty Matters Blog: Feminism in the global south hasn't come from the north