The Effects of a School-Based Program to Change Gender Attitudes in India, Five Years Later: Higher Education, Marriage, Employment, and Spillovers to Family Members

Project: Research project

Project Details


Despite rapid economic growth and social transformation in India in recent years, women continue to lag behind men in many domains. Underlying the gender gaps in, for example, higher education and employment are regressive attitudes about gender roles. Gender-biased views have become more prevalent in India in recent years, as measured by the Gender Social Norms Index (Appendix Figure 1). However, evidence shows that even entrenched gender attitudes are amenable to change. Our ongoing research points to the potential of school curricula to reshape attitudes and promote equality from within the education system. This proposed long-term study investigates how a gender-equality curriculum taught in government schools influences students’ outcomes as young adults. We will also study whether the program’s benefits spill over to participants’ parents and siblings. We use a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate a school intervention that aimed to reshape gender attitudes and behaviors via facilitated classroom discussions among adolescents in Haryana, India. The program was designed and delivered by the non-profit Breakthrough in collaboration with the Government of Haryana, and ran for 2.5 years from 2014 to 2016. The program engaged boys and girls in grades 7 to 10 through classroom discussions held during the regular school day (27 forty-five minute sessions in total), plus other school-wide or optional activities (details in Appendix A). We hypothesized that by altering gender attitudes and perceptions, the program would eventually influence a wide range of behaviors related to education, work, marriage, and fertility, for both female participants and male participants’ wives and sisters. We propose to test for impacts on these outcomes.
Effective start/end date5/1/214/30/22


  • University of Chicago (NWU-007)


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