Princeton University Library Catalog

Telling Her Story, Inspiring His: A Multi-Method Analysis of Gender-Focused Entertainment-Education Efforts in India

Trivedi, Durva [Browse]
Senior thesis
Paluck, Elizabeth L. [Browse]
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs [Browse]
Princeton University. Program in South Asian Studies [Browse]
Class year:
Summary note:
Gender inequality adversely affects women and girls in India in a variety of deeply problematic ways. To proactively combat the harms of gender inequality, policymakers have identified the need for large scale attitudinal change among India’s population. Men in India have particularly inequitable attitudes about gender. Consequently, this thesis focused on male audiences and began with the question of how to create interventions that will promote adoption of more equitable gender role attitudes. Specifically, this thesis examined the potential of entertainment-education as a social and behavioral change strategy that can inspire men to embrace more egalitarian attitudes about gender. Entertainment- education is a communication strategy that uses a media message to both entertain and educate audience members, with the aim of increasing knowledge about an educational issue, inspiring changes in attitude or behavior, or shifting social norms. A growing body of academic literature theorizes different ways in which entertainment-education capitalizes on audience members’ involvement with its narrative and characters to overcome people’s resistance to persuasive messaging. Experimental and qualitative research methods were used in this thesis to analyze two case studies of entertainment-education in India that included prosocial messaging about gender equality. Two randomized survey experiments were conducted to examine the impact of a UNICEF sponsored television show entitled Kyunki...Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai. The studies tested whether audience members’ involvement with the show’s characters and storyline helped make its gender narratives more effective in lowering sexist attitudes reported by male viewers after exposure to short clips from different episodes. Through qualitative fieldwork in India, semi-structured interviews and a focus group were conducted to examine how Dangal, a popular, commercially successful movie that included gender narratives, effectively entertained and educated male audience members. The research conclusions supported existing evidence of entertainment-education’s potential for inspiring attitude changes about gender. Moreover, the findings suggested entertainment-education can be an important tool to engage with and educate a target audience of Indian men. To do so effectively, content creators should revise their entertainment-education strategies and narrow their focus on specifically presenting gender-focused narratives to Indian men. The policy recommendations in this thesis suggest leveraging partnerships between government, civil society, and entertainment industry stakeholders to produce and distribute entertainment-education media, along with strategies for making that media innovative and effective for combatting gender inequality.