Photo: Maria Thundu

In Malawi, Western donors' advocacy of women's rights actually reduces support for women's rights among most male groups, but the impact depends on the type of gender right being advocated.

International development efforts stress the importance of reducing gender gaps in society, especially with respect to education, healthcare, and political representation. However, achieving these objectives depends on winning local support for measures; international development organizations often sponsor public awareness campaigns in order to further this goal.

As a result, it is surprising that scholars have, to date, paid little attention to how effective such campaigns actually are in boosting local support for women's rights.