Empowering Adolescent Girls in Developing Countries: Gender Justice and Norm Change (Paperback) book cover

Empowering Adolescent Girls in Developing Countries

Gender Justice and Norm Change

Edited by Caroline Harper, Nicola Jones, Anita Ghimire, Rachel Marcus, Grace Kyomuhendo Bantebya

© 2018 – Routledge

208 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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*Open Access content has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) license

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The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.tandfebooks.com/doi/view/10.4324/9781315180250, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license

Adolescence is a pivotal time in a girl's life. The development of educational, physical, psychosocial, familial, political and economic capabilities enable girls to reach their full potential and contribute to the wellbeing of their families and society. However, progress is still significantly constrained by discriminatory gender norms and the related attitudes and practices which restrict girls’ horizons, restrain their ambition and, if unfettered, allow exploitation and abuse.

Empowering Adolescent Girls in Developing Countries explores the detrimental impact of discriminatory gender norms on adolescent girls’ lives across very different contexts. Grounded in four years of in-depth research in Ethiopia, Nepal, Uganda and Viet Nam, the book adopts a holistic approach, recognising the inter-related nature of capabilities and the importance of local context. By exploring the theory of gendered norm change, contextualising and examining socialisation processes, the book identifies the patriarchal vested interests in power, authority and moral privilege, which combine in attempts to restrict and control girls’ lives.

Throughout the book, Empowering Adolescent Girls in Developing Countries demonstrates how efforts to develop more egalitarian gender norms can enable disadvantaged adolescent girls to change the course of their lives and contribute to societal change. Accessible and informative, the book is perfect for policy makers, think tanks, NGOs, activists, academics and students of gender and development studies. 

Table of Contents

Introduction: The significance of adolescence in the life course Nicola Jones, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall and Fiona Samuels

Chapter 1: What can a focus on gender norms contribute to girls’ empowerment? Caroline Harper and Rachel Marcus


Chapter 2: ‘Sticky’ gendered norms: change and stasis in the patterning of child marriage in Amhara, Ethiopia Nicola Jones, Bekele Tefera, Guday Emirie and Elizabeth Presler-Marshall

Chapter 3: The politics of policy and programme implementation to advance adolescent girls’ well-being in Ethiopia Nicola Jones, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall, Bekele Tefera and Bethelihem Gebre


Chapter 4: The paradox of change and continuity in social norms and practices affecting adolescent girls’ capabilities and transitions to adulthood in rural Uganda Carol Watson, Grace Kyomuhendo Bantebya and Florence Muhanguzi Kyoheirwe

Chapter 5: From national laws and policies to local programmes: obstacles and opportunities in communications for adolescent girls’ empowerment in Uganda Grace Kyomuhendo Bantebya, Florence Muhanguzi Kyoheirwe, and Carol Watson

Viet Nam

Chapter 6: Intersecting inequalities: the impact of gender norms on Hmong adolescent girls’ education, marriage and work in Viet Nam Nicola Jones, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall and Tran Thi Van Anh

Chapter 7: Triple invisibility: the neglect of ethnic minority adolescent girls in Viet Nam Nicola Jones, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall and Tran Thi Van Anh


Chapter 8: Small but persistent steps on the road to gender equality: marriage patterns in Far West Nepal Fiona Samuels and Anita Ghimire

Chapter 9: Continuity and change: How embedded programmes improve the lives of adolescent girls Fiona Samuels, Anita Ghimire, and Matthew Maclure

Conclusion: Pushing the boundaries of social order: adolescent girls and norm change Caroline Harper and Rachel Marcus

About the Editors

Caroline Harper is a Principal Research Fellow and Head of the Social Development programme at the UK-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI), focusing on gender, generations and exclusion.

Nicola Jones is a political scientist and Principal Research Fellow at ODI, as well as Director of the longitudinal Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) research programme.

Anita Ghimire is the director for social science research at the Nepal Institute for Social and Environmental Research (NISER).

Rachel Marcus is a freelance social development researcher focused on gender, childhood, youth and adolescence.

Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo is a Professor in the School of Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University in Uganda.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries