COVID-19 heightened women’s exposure to gender-based and intimate partner violence, especially in low-income and middle-income countries. We tested whether edutainment interventions shown to successfully combat gender-based and intimate partner violence when delivered in person can be effectively delivered using social (WhatsApp and Facebook) and traditional (TV) media. To do so, we randomized the mode of implementation of an intervention conducted by an Egyptian women’s rights organization seeking to support women amid COVID-19 social distancing. We found WhatsApp to be more effective in delivering the intervention than Facebook but no credible evidence of differences across outcomes between social media and TV dissemination. Our findings show little credible evidence that these campaigns affected women’s attitudes towards gender or marital equality or on the justifiability of violence. However, the campaign did increase women’s knowledge, hypothetical use and reported use of available resources.
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All the data used in this research, including de-identified baseline and endline survey data, server data on server visits, YouTube channel views, and supplementary Google Mobility data (https://www.google.com/covid19/mobility/), are available in the Harvard Dataverse repository, https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/VFFZRM. These include the de-identified original and derived datasets.
All the code developed by the authors using the statistical software R for data construction and analysis (that is, to generate figures, tables and other summary statistics) is available in the Harvard Dataverse repository: https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/VFFZRM.
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N. Muhab provided invaluable assistance in the design and implementation of the project. Z. Asal, S. Eid and H. Hegazy provided excellent research assistance. A. El-Kayaty, J. Marshall, A. Nagy, M. Shalaby, and conference, seminar and workshop participants at the American Political Science Association 2021 Conference, the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, the Joint Initiative for Latin American Experimental Economics, MIT’s Political Experiments Research Lab and Global Diversity Lab, and Toulouse School of Economics provided useful feedback. H.L. acknowledges funding from the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche under the Investissement d’Avenir programme ANR-17-EURE-0010. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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The graph shows the distribution of survey responses by governorate, with Cairo having the highest frequency of responses at 2341. The median governorates are Luxor and Bahera, with 37 and 42 responses, respectively. Matrouh had the lowest number of responses, with only one respondent. The survey data was collected and analyzed by our team. Adapted from the Humanitarian Data Exchange under a CC BY 4.0 licence.
Panel (a) shows the total number of visits to the server hosting videos and YouTube videos for the 14 pages/videos delivered. Panel (b) shows the number of visits for the Facebook treatment group, panel (c) for the WhatsApp individual treatment group, and panel (d) for the WhatsApp group pages. For more detailed results, refer to Extended Data Tables 4 and 5.
Extended Data Fig. 3 Video landing web page visits for Facebook and WhatsApp Individual treatment before and after participants assigned to the Facebook treatment were shifted to the WhatsApp Individual treatment.
Difference-in-differences analysis of the impact of transitioning the Facebook treatment group from receiving videos on Facebook to receiving videos via WhatsApp. The left panel shows the distribution shift in the total number of video views before and after the transition for the Facebook treatment group. The right panel compares the same distribution shift for the WhatsApp individual treatment group. Analyzing the distribution shift helps us understand the relative effectiveness of Facebook vis-a-vis WhatsApp.
We plot the daily percent change in mobility relative to the prior to the COVID-19 pandemic across different industries (panel (a) is Retail and recreation, panel (b) grocery and pharmacy, panel (c) parks, panel (d) transit stations, panel (e) workplaces, and panel (f) residential) in Egypt during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vertical lines demarcate the intervention, which ran from July 10, 2020, to September 05, 2020. All data comes from Google Mobility public data.
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Christia, F., Larreguy, H., Parker-Magyar, E. et al. Empowering women facing gender-based violence amid COVID-19 through media campaigns. Nat Hum Behav 7, 1740–1752 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-023-01665-y