Addressing Child marriage: context & social norms matter

Child marriage occurs in every region of the world, and while many contributing factors transcend borders, local circumstances also play an important role. It is imperative that we understand the particular contextual factors, including social norms, that cause child marriage to persist in the particular areas in which we work. With thorough, context-focused research, practitioners can fashion effective programs and policies to combat the practice.

On January 22nd, 2018 ICRW and GreeneWorks co-hosted one of ICRW’s monthly Insights to Action events (#ICRWInsights), entitled Context Matters: How understanding social norms is imperative to addressing child marriage.

The event was moderated by GreeneWorks’ Dr. Margaret Greene, who was introduced by Rachel Clement, Policy Advocate at ICRW and co-chair of Girls Not Brides USA. The panelists started with presentations. Then, Dr. Greene facilitated a discussion of the recent field work by Investigación en Salud y Demografía (INSAD) in Mexico, Plan International in 8 Latin American countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras) and ICRW in Malawi.

The panelists included:

  • Estela Rivero, Researcher at INSAD;
  • Laura Hinson, Social and Behavioral Scientist at ICRW; and
  • Mara Steinhaus, Research and Evaluation Specialist at ICRW.

NOTE: unfortunately, our other panelist, Emma Puig de la Bellacasa, the Head of Gender Transformative Programming and Influencing for Plan International could not make the event. Dr. Greene spoke on her behalf.

The engaging discussion focused on the roles deep-rooted norms and local context play. Presenters delved into the foundations of child marriage in these differing contexts, shared their experiences measuring social norms and shed light on ways to catalyze meaningful and sustained social change.

Event Recording