Poverty reduction and social development

The gender team at the 58th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)


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Tackling discriminatory social norms to empower girls and women: lessons for a post-2015 framework

 13 March 2014


Conference Room D, United Nations North Lawn Building, New York


Discussions around what will replace the MDGs in 2015 are well underway, including around how best to integrate gender equality within such a framework in ways that build on lessons from the past in order to tackle poverty and exclusion at the root and promote long-lasting transformative change. In 2000, world leaders made a commitment to “promote gender equality and the empowerment of women as effective ways to combat poverty, hunger and disease and to stimulate development that is truly sustainable”. With the deadline for their achievement around the corner, the patchy progress made since 2000 on MDG3 and the other MDGs raises fundamental questions on the approaches and targets chosen to reach gender equality. Gender gaps in education and employment, low representation of women in decision-making positions, and violence against women demonstrate the need for a socially transformative approach in the next development framework, which systematically tackles the underlying drivers rather than the ‘symptoms’ of gender inequality.

Social norms play a critical role in shaping values, practices and attitudes that determine the power relations between women and men. A growing body of research and field experience over the past decade indicate that tackling these structural and systemic drivers of inequality are an effective and sustainable means of catalysing positive social transformation that benefit both women and men.

Chaired by Guardian journalist, Liz Ford, this ODI, OECD and DFID side event will aim to highlight the importance of including social norms in the analysis of achievements and shortcomings of the MDGs in order to capitalise on lessons learned for the post 2015 agenda. 

Each speaker will share their research and field experiences to show how tackling social norms is critical for promoting positive social transformation that leads to gender equality, and present best practices and guidelines on how social norms can be successfully integrated within a development framework.

The OECD Development Centre will also present 3 new papers:

For up to the minute information and updates in the run up to this event follow #girlspost2015, #socialnorms and #CSW58 on Twitter.



Liz Ford, Guardian Journalist 



Justine Greening, Secretary of State (DFID)

H. E. Ms Zenebu Tadesse Woldetsadik (Minister of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, Ethiopia)

Keiko Nowacka and Gaelle Ferrant (OECD)

Caroline Harper (ODI)


Closing remarks

Questions and Discussion

Download the "Save the Date". (PDF)


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