This study uses a randomized controlled trial design to evaluate a school-based awareness and mobilization pilot program aimed at promoting gender equality and tackling the problem of son preference in India. The intervention, led by a human rights NGO, Breakthrough, will be conducted for two school years (2014-2016) in secondary schools in 150 villages in Haryana, the state with the lowest child sex ratio in India. The villages will be spread across four districts in Haryana: Rohtak, Sonepat, Panepat, and Jhajjar. The program will target female and male students enrolled in Classes 7-9.
The study will measure whether the intervention is successful in improving youth attitudes toward gender equality and decreasing support for sex-selective abortion. The study will also measure spillover effects on the attitudes of participants’ siblings as well as differences in program impact by gender and family backgrounds of participants. The program’s impacts on gender attitudes are expected to, in turn, change the participants' behavior, e.g., make them less likely to engage in and condone sex-selective abortion, when they start families. The study is designed so that in follow-up work, the impact of the program on fertility behavior and on the sex ratio of participants’ children can be estimated.
The study sample comprise two groups: secondary schools in 150 villages which receive the Breakthrough intervention and an additional secondary schools in 164 control villages in the same 4 districts. A baseline survey of randomly selected students and a subset of students' parents will be conducted prior to program roll-out. An endline survey will be conducted after the program has been implemented for two years.