Gender Equality Among Adolescents

The Gender Equality among Adolescents measure is a 12-item measure using vignettes assessing how young people in a community think about situations differently if a boy or girl is in the lead. It measures the gap in perceptions that boys and girls express depending on the sex of the protagonist in the vignettes. The domains of these vignettes include Communication, Interaction Approach, Peer Understanding towards Gender Stigma, Social Inclusion, Emotional Response (Puberty), Proactiveness (Puberty), Parent Response (Puberty), Peer Response (Puberty), Responsibility (Pregnancy), Parental Support (Pregnancy), and Peer Responsibility (Pregnancy).


Geographies Tested: China,Democratic Republic of the Congo,Ecuador

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents


1. X is attracted to Y, but has never spoken with Y. X wants to get Y's attention, but is not sure how. Protagonist question: What do you think X would do to get Y's attention? Respondent question: What option would you choose in that situation?

Response Options:
Ask a friend to tell Y that X likes him/her. (Indirect) - 1
Pass Y a note. (Direct) - 2
Go up and talk to Y directly. (Direct) - 3
Nothing, just wait, hoping to meet Y. (Avoidance) - 4

Interaction Approach
2. It is Friday, and X and Y are both at a party with their friends. X (attracted to Y) sees that Y is standing in a corner across the room. Protagonist question: What would it take for X to talk to Y?

Response Options:
X is challenged by friends. (Protagonist initiates) - 1
Y was alone. (Protagonist initiates) - 2
Y came up to X or noticed X in another way. (Antagonist initiates) - 3
X knew from a friend that Y liked him/her. (Protagonist initiates) - 4
X would not talk to Y under any circumstance. (Avoidance) - 5

3. It turns out, one of Y's friends tells X that Y likes him/her. Protagonist question: Knowing this, what do you think X would do?

Response Options:
Go up and speak with Y directly. (High) - 1
Do nothing and hope Y will notice X. (No) - 2
Give Y "a look". (Low) - 3
Walk by and bump into Y "accidentally". (Moderate) - 4
Ignore Y. (No) - 5

Peer Understanding towards Gender Stigma
4. X has always felt like playing with peers from the opposite sex. One day after school X approached such group of peers and asked to join their play but got denied. Protagonist question: What do most of X's same-sex classmates think about him/her not being allowed to join?

Response Options:
They think X should be able to participate. (High) - 1
They think it is unfair, but they are never allowed to play with peers with opposite sex. (High) - 2
They think X is weird and just makes trouble for himself/herself. (Low) - 3
They think X is probably homosexual. (Low) - 4

Social Inclusion
5. Same vignette but asks different question: What do you think that group of peers would do when X asks to join in?

Response Options:
They welcome X to join, just like anyone else. (Yes) - 1
They say that X can't join since the conversation is for opposite sex only. (No) - 2
They refuse and call him names for wanting to act like from opposite sex. (No) - 3
They allow X to join because X is good at the games they play. (Yes) - 4
They allow X to join, but tease X. (Some) - 5

Emotional Response (Puberty)
6. Recently, X has seen some body changes in himself/herself, of which changes he/she did not have before. Protagonist question: How is X feeling about the body changes and the fact that X is going through puberty? X is happy that he/she is becoming a grown-up. (Positive)

Response Options:
X thinks that he/she is sick and something is terribly wrong. (Very negative) - 1
X is embarrassed about the changes he/she is experiencing. (Negative) - 2
X is worried about the changes. (Negative) - 3
X is really sad about becoming an adult. (Very negative) - 4
X is confused and wants more information about the changes he/she is experiencing. (Neutral) - 5

7. X is confused about the changes that he/she is experiencing. Protagonist question: What will he/she do next?

Response Options:
Tells no one that he/she has finally started puberty. (No action) - 1
Speaks with someone and asks for advice. (Positive action) - 2
Searches for information about body changes. (Positive action) - 3
Tries to hide body changes. (Negative action) - 4

Parent Response (Puberty)
8. X tells his(her) father(mother) about the body changes. Protagonist question: How does parent most likely to first react to the fact that X has finally begun puberty?

Response Options:
His(her) father(mother) is happy and tells X that he/she is becoming a man(woman). (Positive) - 1
His(her) father(mother) makes fun of him(her). (Negative) - 2
His(her) father(mother) tells X that he/she is growing up and should take on responsibilities. (Positive) - 3
His(her) father(mother) tells X that he/she should no longer play with girls/boys. (Negative) - 4
His(her) father(mother) will teach him/her about hygiene and relevant knowledge. (Positive) - 5

Peer Response(Puberty)
9. X has been the subject of jokes and teased by more mature friends. Now his(her) friends start seeing that X is also maturing. Protagonist question: What do you think the friends are most likely to do?

Response Options:
They will make fun of him/her for being slow. (Not at all supportive/low supportive) - 1
They will be too embarrassed to say anything. (Not at all supportive/low supportive) - 2
They will tell him/her that because now he(she) is a man(woman), it is time to get a girlfriend(boyfriend). (Supportive) - 3
They will see it as normal and pay no attention to it. (Moderate supportive) - 4

Responsibility (Pregnancy)
10. X's girlfriend (Y) recently realized that she is pregnant and told X that he made her pregnant. Respondent question: How do you think you would react if you were ever in X's situation?

Response Options:
Do nothing and hope it will just go away. (Deny responsibility) - 1
Accept the pregnancy but refuse any further involvement with Y. (Deny responsibility) - 2
Accept the pregnancy and would be happy to have a baby with Y. (Accept responsibility) - 3
Terminate pregnancy. (Deny responsibility) - 4

Parental Support (Pregnancy)
11. X's parents know from X's siblings that X's girlfriend is pregnant. Protagonist question: How will X's parents react when they find out the fact?

Response Options:
Kick X out of house. (Not supportive) - 1
Say that they will find money for Y to have an abortion. (Not supportive) - 2
Say they will force X to marry Y as soon as possible. (Supportive) - 3
Say they will take care of baby no matter what X decided to do with Y. (Supportive) - 4

Peer Responsibility (Pregnancy)
12. Same vignette but asked: What do you think your friends would do if they ever were in this kind of situation?(Encourage girlfriend to)

Response Options:
Continue the pregnancy and keep the baby. (Accept) - 1
Accept pregnancy but end the relationship. (Deny) - 2
Get some money for abortion. (Deny) - 3
Accompany girlfriend (or ask boyfriend's accompany) to have an abortion. (Deny) - 4

Note: X, Y = faked name for boy protagonists or girl protagonists.

Scoring Procedures

Group level mean scores are calculated for each domain by sex per site.

Original Citation

Blum, R. W., Sheehy, G., Li, M., Basu, S., El Gibaly, O., Kayembe, P., Zuo, X., Ortiz, J., Chan, K. S., & Moreau, C. (2019). Measuring young adolescent perceptions of relationships: A vignette-based approach to exploring gender equality. PLoS ONE, 14(6), e0218863.

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Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








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