This toolkit provides guidance to actors interested in taking actions on changing norms to improve women’s access to decent work and to realize their economic rights. Transforming social and economic norms, though challenging, is possible and effective, with women’s grassroots organizations playing a central role in identifying context-relevant strategies and solutions.
Norms can change through cultural shifts, economic change, migration, and access to media and communications. Norms can also change through direct interventions, such as policy and programs aiming to change specific norms. And norms can change through social relations, including exposure to and participation in conversations, conflict, social pressure, education and collective efforts.
The focus should be on removing and restricting adverse norms, but support for positive norms is also important.2 Interventions on norms need to be related to broader goals for reducing poverty and inequality, and they should include challenging structures, not just behaviours. So, it is useful to think of action on norms as myriad interventions, not as one simple solution.
- Eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Take action to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls in their homes, in their communities, in the world of work and in public spaces. Enforcing legal and regulatory frameworks, protocols and disciplinary procedures is critical. So are awareness-raising and violence-prevention campaigns in collaboration with women workers, businesses, trade unions, employer organizations and women’s organizations.
- End discrimination and stereotypes that ascribe gender to roles and abilities. Take action to change discrimination and stereotypes that ascribe gender to roles and abilities including care work, and remove discrimination at the workplace, through education with school-age children, advertising, media, business and civil society groups.
- Eradicate the stigmatization of informal workers. Governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society should take action to support and recognize informal workers’ organizations such as unions, cooperatives and voluntary associations.