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Attitudes, Practice, and Social Norms: Key Gender Equality Issues in Selected Nigerian States

Elaine K Denny and Emeka Nwankwo

Voices for Change (V4C) is an ambitious, multipronged initiative promoting the empowerment of and respect for women at multiple levels of Nigerian society. Programming is focused in four Nigerian states (Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, and Lagos) and uses mass communication (such as radio programmes), targeted outreaches, coordination with key influencers, and legislative change to shift young people’s attitudes and behaviours about girls and women. V4C has identified three key behaviours which it specifically seeks to change:

  • The role of women in household decision-making
  • The prevalence of violence against women and
    girls (VAWG)
  • The prevalence of women standing for leadership positions

The Attitudes, Practice, and Social Norms survey presented here was commissioned as the baseline study for a three-wave panel survey. The study also includes measures of young people’s expectations about what behaviours and attitudes are common in their communities. This data enables the identification of social norms and will allow measurement of how these change over time. Overall, the panel study will evaluate V4C’s effectiveness in reaching its programme goals.

This study is unique in that it is one of the first population-representative quantitative studies to identify social norms and track changes in these norms over time. Although the primary objective of this panel survey is to measure how attitudes and practices among respondents change over time, the baseline survey itself provides rich data on existing beliefs, practices, and social norms.

A key element of this report is to understand whether social norms play a significant role in determining behaviour in V4C’s focal programme areas. Findings from this baseline study will enable V4C and its implementing partners to plan and conduct interventions better tailored to the current attitudes of Nigerian youth, as well as to identify the common patterns of influence
which they experience.

Itad’s Julian Barr was involved in the survey design, protocal development and implementation, and reviewed the report prior to publishing.