Building support for gender equality among young adolescents in school

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Findings from Mumbai, India

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Gender socialization of both boys and girls begins early, and it is important to initiate change processes at a young age to shape attitudes and transform behaviors. This research brief summaries key findings from the Gender Equity Movement in Schools program or GEMS, a school-based intervention that promotes gender equality by encouraging equal relationships between girls and boys, examining the social norms that define men’s and women’s roles, and questioning the use of violence. The GEMS experience provides evidence of a useful and feasible methodology for creating discussion around gender equality within the school setting. The findings suggest that a methodology which involves students in self-reflection has the potential to make a positive difference in attitudes and behaviors. Also, schools, as spaces for learning, have a role beyond giving knowledge to fostering support for gender equality and non-violence.