2 February 2022 | Videos

Video: How Social Norms Shape Attitudes and Behaviour around Gender Roles

The gender roles people see growing up in their childhood home, in their social circles and in the media, all play an important part in determining how people think and act.

What people see others doing inevitably shapes their perceptions of what they think society expects of them, and they conform to meet those expectations.

Rather than peoples’ individual thoughts shaping their actions, it is the natural fear of being criticised or ostracised that tend to shape peoples’ everyday decisions.

These are some of the key findings from Investing in Women’s Social Norms, Attitudes and Practices (SNAP) 2020 Survey of 6,000 urban millennials across Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The SNAP 2020 Survey records insights on gender equality as it stands now, as it stood when respondents were growing up, their aspirations for the future and how this might affect both family and professional dynamics.

Other key insights from the survey include:

  • Perceptions of gender roles did not always match reality: In all three countries, around 80% of respondents believed that women were still the primary caregivers of children in the household, when only 50% of women reported this to be the case in their own homes.
  • Individuals who practice equality at home were more likely to be resilient[1] to the stresses brought on by COVID.
  • Equality at the workplace also tends to influence personal attitudes of employees, demonstrating the interconnectedness of our life at home and at work.

Read more insights from and download the full Social Norms, Attitudes and Practices (SNAP) 2020 Survey report here.

The SNAP 2020 Survey builds upon the results of a similar survey IW commissioned in 2018 and forms part of a growing evidence base on gendered social norms in the region.

This evidence base informs Investing in Women’s work in positively shifting the gender norms that inhibit women’s economic participation as employees and as entrepreneurs. Broadly, IW aims to normalise women’s role in the economy and promote men’s role at home.

IW works with local partners on research and campaigns focusing on understanding and shifting four key gender norms:

  • Norm 1 (Childcare and Housework): Women’s primary role perceived as carer for children and family members, home maker
  • Norm 2 (Breadwinning and Family Income): Men’s perceived role as primary income earner/provider for the family
  • Norm 3 (Job segregation): Perceptions that certain job types are more suitable for women and others for men, leading to occupational segregation
  • Norm 4 (Leadership): Perceptions of women as better in supportive roles and men as better leaders

Read more about IW’s work on influencing gender norms.


[1] This finding is particularly evident in the Vietnam SNAP study.

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