moderated Re: Social Norms and Financial Inclusion #ediscussionday1

Getaneh Gobezie

Dear Julia and Bobi

I am happy that you have mentioned Linda Mayoux who have for long been advocating on addressing social norms for addressing financial justice for women. Her model, GALS (Gender Action Learning System) proposes use of the VSLA (or MFI) group meetings to facilitate discussion on gender among mixed group. The tool goes on to propose that the ''Business Plan'' submitted by potential clients to demonstrate how the financial services (e.g microcredit) would be utilize,(e.g  who does what, who manage profit, savings, etc). ... GALS tool is now being utilized in many African countries (starting from Uganda), Asia, Latine America, etc supported by Oxfam-Novib, HIVOS, IFAD, etc ....

The last presentation was in 2011 Microcredit Summit (Valladolid, Spain) ... I am attaching the report on which I served as a co-author.... Related papers are posted at UN-Women, as well as Microfinancegateway (now FinDev)


Getaneh (getanehg2002@...)

On Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 10:03:59 PM GMT+3, Simone Schaner <schaner@...> wrote:

Hi Julia + co —

I am short on time so cannot do this topic the justice it deserves, but I did want to chime in on (3), as this is a topic of great interest to me and some colleagues. I think qualitative work and time spent in the field are really essential to any quantitative researcher working in this space; it’s also worth noting that there's been increasing interest in trying to measure norms in impact evaluations. Your original email cited some of my work with collaborators (Erica Field, Rohini Pande, Natalia Rigol, and Charity Troyer Moore) on India, where we report results from an RCT showing that strengthening women’s control over government wage payments in India increases women’s labor market participation. We’re in the process of putting final touches on an updated paper, which incorporates a 3 year follow up. In this follow up we invested heavily in developing new survey questions to measure injunctive norms (both perceived and actual). The upshot is that we find evidence that our intervention (which did not explicitly target norms) shifted norms in the long run — we find broad movement among women, and evidence that perceived costs of violating the norm eased for men. (Another takeaway from the work has been that men report bearing greater costs to having a wife who works — so the entire household may be a stakeholder in upholding norms that govern women’s behavior). 

We’re hoping to wrap the paper up within the next couple weeks and look forward to sharing it (and shorter, less technical pieces for policy audiences) soon. (If anyone wants a copy or a policy brief, feel free to ping me and I can put your name on a share out list). We have also been revising our tools to measure norms for a new RCT in India related to women’s use of phones and mobile technology. Also: this paper evaluating the impact of an intervention designed to shift adolescents’ gender attitudes in India (by Diva Dhar, Tarun Jain, and Seema Jayachandran) is another terrific example of recent attempts to take norms seriously in impact evaluation.


Simone Schaner
Assistant Professor (Research) of Economics
University of Southern California

On Jun 11, 2019, at 10:45 AM, Julia Arnold <jarnold@...> wrote:


I have so many thoughts in response to this! I remember hearing Linda Mayoux speak at a Microcredit Summit Campaign (eons ago!) and thinking she was absolutely right but watching everyone around me scoff at her. I totally agree her work wasn't presented as insights into gendered social norms, but that also wasn't something the microcredit sphere was talking about all those years ago. 

I have some questions in following up to your observations: 

1) Is the reason financial inclusion hasn't addressed social norms because we're essentially retrofitting microcredit into the formal banking sector? The banking sector has NEVER had to consider customer needs, let alone low-income women's social restrictions; it's very business model is: you need money? I have money....but you need to jump through these hoops to get it. 
2) The sectoral shift toward customer centricity seems to be coming from a place of consumer protection as well as behavioral analytics. Would you agree that the attention to customer centricity has spurred our increased attention to social norms? Or are they different and happening simultaneously? 
3) What would it take for the "randomista's" among our group to take unmeasurable social norms into account in their analysis on impact?


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