BREAD Working Paper No. 550, November 2018

Reshaping Adolescents’ Gender Attitudes: Evidence from a School-Based Experiment in India

Diva Dhar, Tarun Jain, Seema Jayachandran


Societal norms about gender roles contribute to the economic disadvantages facing women in many developing countries. This paper evaluates an intervention aimed at eroding support for restrictive gender norms, specifically a multi-year school-based intervention in Haryana, India, that engaged adolescents in classroom discussions about gender equality. Using a randomized controlled trial, we find that the intervention increased adolescents’ support for gender equality by 0.25 standard deviations, a sizable effect compared to other correlates of their gender attitudes such as their parents’ views. Program participants also report more gender-equitable behavior; for example, boys report helping out more with household chores.

Keywords: Gender equality, preference formation, social norms, persuasion

JEL Codes: J12, J13, J16, O12.

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