Dr Ben Cislaghi

Associate Professor


15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

Ben worked for various NGOs and International Organisations, including UNICEF, WHO, and ILO and collaborated with several Universities, including Stanford and Columbia. He was director of research for the NGO Tostan in Senegal for three years. 

His research work at the LSHTM has contributed to increasing the understanding of how gender norms affect people's health and how their effect can be measured. (see this article, for instance). There, he leads a team of researchers and activists working at the intersection between gender equality, child protection, and ethics of international development.

Ben's team is passionate about translating research into practice, and collaborates with several NGOs to increase their sel-reflective ethical practices and integrate greater understanding of gender and social norms into their work. This commitment results in both translational research to action and accompaniment of small and mid-size NGOs working in low and middle-income countries.


Faculty of Public Health and Policy
Department of Global Health and Development


Module Organiser: Ethics, Public Health and Human Rights.  

Supervision: Msc students and 3 brave PhD candidates, one studying the role of gender norms in adolescents' access to SHRH services in South Korea, another investigating ethical issues of  interventions addressing violence against women in Thailand, and a third one looking at COVID response-related ethical issues faced by intensive unit clinicians in Spain.


Ben's work spans across three fields of research and practice: 1) gender and social norms; 2) ethics of development and public health; and 3) the intersection between gender equality and child protection

The first includes work to understand how gender norms influence health-related behaviour - particularly behaviour related to sexual health and rights. With Lori Heise, he has advanced a theory of social norms (Theory of Normative Spectrum) to help understand the difference strength that norms can play on behaviour. The two together have also created the "flower" framework, an evolution of Brofenbenner's ecological framework. As part of this work, his team is looking at how gender norms affect women/s SRH in West Africa, thanks to a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, and at how online platforms can change gender norms related to family planning in Kenya, under a DFID grant.

The second space of work investigates ethics of international development, specifically looking at how development interventions can empower people for community-based responses to local and global challenges, a topic he discussed in Human Rights and Community-led Development (EUP). This work challenges idea of agency, empowerment, protection, rights and equality, pushing researchers and practitioners towards greater self-reflexivity, and inviting them to ground their work within a transparent set of values to inform a non-imperialistic praxis. As part of this work, his team received a grant to set up a mentorship programme for NGOs interested in conducting ethical praxis to facilitate bottom-up changes in harmful norms.

His third space of research and action looks at the intersection between gender equality and child protection. Work conducted within this research interest is multi-faceted work. For instance, he is interested in understanding opportunities to work at the intersection between Violence Against Women and Violence Against Children. He also asks whether there is space, within the critical trajectory for restorative justice, to understand and humanise perpetrators, proceeding towards collective liberation from oppression of violence. As part of this work, his team gathered a community of practices, with funding from an anonymous donor, and is working on a forthcoming report on the intersections between VAW and VAC. 

Research Area
Child health
Health promotion
Public health
Sexual health
Social and structural determinants of health
Adolescent health
Behaviour change
Global Health
Mixed methods
Qualitative methods
Reproductive health
Development studies
Social Sciences
Cote d'Ivoire
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Latin America & Caribbean (developing only)
South Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)

Selected Publications

Gender equality and global health: intersecting political challenges.
Cislaghi B; Weber AM; Gupta GR; Darmstadt GL
Journal of Global Health
Association of collective attitudes and contraceptive practice in nine sub-Saharan African countries.
Mejía-Guevara I; Cislaghi B; Weber A; Hallgren E; Meausoone V; Cullen MR; Darmstadt GL
Journal of global health
Global health is political; can it also be compassionate?
Cislaghi B; Bukuluki P; Chowdhury M; Miranda AE; Kenny L; Kohli A; Kusumaningrum S; Brah BH; Love C; Mathpati MM
Journal of Global Health
Changing Social Norms: the Importance of \"Organized Diffusion\" for Scaling Up Community Health Promotion and Women Empowerment Interventions.
Cislaghi B; Denny EK; Cissé M; Gueye P; Shrestha B; Shrestha PN; Ferguson G; Hughes C; Clark CJ
Prevention Science
Implications of gendered behaviour and contexts for social mobility in the USA: a nationally representative observational study.
Domingue BW; Cislaghi B; Nagata JM; Shakya HB; Weber AM; Boardman JD; Darmstadt GL; Harris KM
The Lancet Planetary Health
Mapping the Social-Norms Literature: An Overview of Reviews.
Legros S; Cislaghi B
Perspectives on Psychological Science
Gender norms and health: insights from global survey data.
Weber AM; Cislaghi B; Meausoone V; Abdalla S; Mejía-Guevara I; Loftus P; Hallgren E; Seff I; Stark L; Victora CG
Theory and practice of social norms interventions: eight common pitfalls.
Cislaghi B; Heise L
Globalization and health
Using social norms theory for health promotion in low-income countries.
Cislaghi B; Heise L
Health promotion international
See more Publications