This study examined the traditional gender norms and beliefs held by orphaned adolescent boys and girls, and the role of such norms and beliefs on their academic performance. Data from a NIMH-funded study known as Suubi-Maka in Uganda were analyzed. Results indicate that overall, adolescents held strong gendered norms and beliefs that favor males over females. Compared to boys, girls were more likely to report more egalitarian gender norms and beliefs that give equal consideration to both girls and boys. In addition, more egalitarian gender norms and beliefs were associated with better school grades. Study findings point to the need to integrate targeted components that address harmful gender norms and beliefs in programs that support vulnerable adolescents, including education policy, if we are to address inequalities in education access and achievement, as well promote and strengthen education for all in sub-Saharan Africa.

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