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Changing gendered social norms among parents in Rwanda

Adolescents in Rwanda. Photo: Plan International

One example is Mukamana*, a mother of three, including an 11-year-old daughter, and two sons, one older and one younger than her daughter.  Mukamana lives in Musanze District, in extreme poverty and she ekes out a living doing farm labour.  Over time she became exhausted from her paid work and was unable to do the household chores, and so she made her daughter drop out of primary school to help around the home. “It’s because she is a girl,” Mukamana said. Mukamana let her son continue schooling because he could not give her the support she needed: “it is not socially acceptable for a son to do the household chores in the way that it is for girls,” she said.

While Rwanda’s political, policy, legal and institutional frameworks are supportive of girls’ education and wellbeing, there is a pressing need to raise awareness of the cultural barriers and how these slow progress towards equitable rights. Positive parenting meetings are conducted at a village level but these are unstructured programmes implemented differently across the country. GAGE can help can by identifying successful programmes which tackle broader social norms to achieve positive gender outcomes for adolescent girls and their communities.

*Name has been changed