Intersecting Injustices: The links between social norms, access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and violence against women and girls

Tanumbay, 22, from Maguindanao got married at age 10 to a man 20 years older than her. ‘I didn’t want to marry, but I had no choice. It was my father’s wish before he died,’ she said. Tanumbay was 12 years old when she gave birth to her eldest son. Now, she has five children. Tanumbay never experienced going to school because of poverty. Photo: April Abello-Bulanadi/Oxfam
Paper author: 
Kristine Valerio, Anam Parvez Butt
Paper publication date: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

In the Philippines, poor sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of women and girls is a grave public health challenge: one in five girls is a mother by age 19, two-thirds of women are not using any form of birth control, and more than a third of women’s pregnancies are unwanted. This study provides insights into the social norms and other factors that act as a barrier to the access and use of SRHR information and services by women and girls. Along with identifying the belief systems influencing women’s and girl’s access and use of SRHR information and services, the report also identifies key influencing factors (e.g. conflict, class, religion, education, technology), as well as positive outliers, key allies and positive influences as potential pathways to social norm change. 

The research aims to inform two projects implemented by Oxfam Pilipinas and its partners: Creating Spaces and Sexual Health and Empowerment (SHE). Both projects aim to reduce CEFM, VAWG, and to promote SRHR by transforming discriminatory social norms.