Enabling Gender Norm Change through Communication
A Case Study of a Trans-Media Entertainment-Education Initiative in Bangladesh
The Government of Bangladesh with UNICEF and partners launched a multi-phase trans-media campaign to end child marriage in 2017. At the heart of the initiative was an award-winning social norm-driven entertainment-education-based television series Icchedana (On the Wings of Wishes), which focused on adolescent empowerment and gender equality. The storyline centered around a girls’ football team and portrayed the lives of a group of girls who face and overcome adolescent challenges. The media campaign was supplemented by on the ground social mobilisation and community engagement efforts in districts with high child marriage prevalence. This article presents a robust case study of this multi-layered social and behaviour change initiative. The findings draw on a longitudinal panel study to assess the effectiveness of the trans-media component and qualitative data gathered during field observation visits. The article builds on social norms, entertainment-education and gender theory to explain the broader gender related shifts that ensued as part of the change efforts aimed to end child marriage. Recommendations for future gender transformation and social norm change efforts are discussed.