In India society intrinsically reflects gender inequality. It is also widely accepted that the causes for gender inequality are existing social norms and socially constructed gender roles. Social norms are part of the way in which gendered power inequalities are maintained. The root cause of gender inequality in Indian society lies in its patriarchy system. Social norms are structural causes, which create gender inequality and reinforce patriarchy. Social norms affect men and women both in several ways. Socialization of men propels them to prove their masculinity to maintain patriarchy system of society and their actions affect women’s life. Social norms are relative in nature, which varies regions to region. Skewed sex ratio in India points towards thought of son preference reinforced by patriarchy leads to female foeticide and discrimination in girl child health care as a primary reason for this disappointing trend. Celebrations take place when a boy is born, and if it is a girl, a muted or no celebrations is the norm. No big investment on daughters’ marriage as they go to marital home is norm. It is due to the deeply rooted thought that girls are burden on parents so majority of women getting married below or around the legal marriage age of 18 years and education is often not a priority for the women.
Traditionally, only the sons could inherit property and assets. Entrenched thought of masculinity among men and boys and their claim of more privileges to be superior to women encourage them to be violent and exercise power over their counterpart. Men have to earn, women are to run home, and care work is for women only kind of thoughts restricts women mobility and choices. Dress code for girls, beating wives is justified as a personal affair, women should not express choice for having sex. She does not have choice of when and how many children be to be born. These norms affect men and women both in Indian society and are stumble block for gender equality. As a strategic approach the campaign has identified five social norms in its first phase for transforming into positive norms. These five norms are intrinsically linked to each other and to other social norms too.
Domestic violence Beating one's wife is justified by stating it is a private affair and is normalised. Traditional beliefs that men have a right to control or discipline women through physical means makes women vulnerable to violence by intimate partners.
Lack of safety for women and girls in public places Restrictions are imposed on women and girls' mobility with the norm being that they should remain inside homes because they liable to face sexual harassment and violence from men and boys in streets and public places. Once a girl attains puberty, the concerns around protecting her chastity, fears around elopement, and stigma from losing the family honour, restrict her physical mobility
Unequal education Families do not perceive any benefit in investing in girls’ education as their economic contributions are seen to be geared towards their marital homes. Social norms encourage that education is not necessary for girls nor of the same standard as boys as at the end they have to go to their matrimonial home and are not expected to be economically independent.
Early marriage The social norm is that girls are considered ‘paraya dhan’ or property of the marital family. Getting over the daughter’s marriage is like getting rid of the biggest social responsibility and promotes early marriage. There is also the pressure to prohibit girls' sexuality