Gender

IDS is well known for its progressive gender research, knowledge sharing and teaching, and for the central role it has played in the conceptual shift from a 'women in development' to a 'gender and development' focus, as well as for critically bringing sexuality and masculinities into gender theory, research and practice.

Bangladesh Pirgonj, Rangpur
A group of young women of receiving computer and management training designed to give them the opportunity to work as freelancers.
Credit: G.M.B. Akash / Panos

We believe that every person - women, men and non-binary people - can play a part in reducing inequalities and helping drive better outcomes for women, and for society as a whole.

This belief underpins our MA Gender and Development course which is one of the longest running and most popular courses on gender and development in the UK. Taught jointly with the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex, it situates the study of gender and development within an analytical social science framework, as well as in the context of policymaking and implementation.

Rich history of research and knowledge sharing

With colleagues at Sussex University, IDS has played a prominent part in promoting an approach that put power at the heart of gender and development analysis. Our work in the 1990s turned a feminist lens on attempts to institutionalise gender through 'mainstreaming' and brought new perspectives to debates on gender in relation to land, labour, health, environment and participatory development. And one of our longest running programmes, BRIDGE, has for decades provided accessible and diverse information to bridge the gaps between theory, policy and practice.

Current work includes a focus on women’s economic empowerment; gender, conflict and violence; unpaid care work; masculinities and patriarchy; participation; sexuality and poverty; and health. Our work cuts across all these different thematic areas. You can uncover the links and how our research explores and learns from these interconnections on our Interactions for Gender Justice website.

Exciting new directions for future research on gender & sexuality

Considering the positive and negative influences of current trends on progress or regress in sexual and gender justice terms we have built on past areas of strong work to identify four priority streams for further investigation in the coming years:

  • Women's economic empowerment and migration
  • Men and masculinities for equality, peace and justice
  • Gender, sexuality and digital development
  • Sexuality and poverty

Download our report and help us build a new research agenda for change.

Image credit: Panos / GMB Akash

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Photo of Adrian Bannister from IDS Knowledge Services More details

IDS Alum More details

IDS staff or research student More details

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Photo of Cathérine Müller, Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction research team More details

Photo of Deepta Chopra, IDS Governance and Gender / Sexuality Research Fellow More details

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Photo of Jackie Shaw, Research Fellow in the Participation research cluster More details

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IDS staff or research student More details

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Capacity Building for the establishment of an MA in Gender and Development at Cairo University, Egypt

To support Cairo University in establishing and offering a full one-year accredited Professional Diploma or MA in Gender Studies. More details

Cutting Edge Programme on Gender and Food Security

This BRIDGE Cutting Edge Programme on Gender and Food Security makes the case for a new, gender-aware understanding of food security, arguing that partial, apolitical and gender-blind diagnoses of the problem of food and nutrition insecurity is leading to insufficient policy responses and the failure to realise the right to food for all people. More details

Cutting Edge Programme on Gender and Social Movements

The BRIDGE Edge Programme on Gender and Social Movements aims to inspire and support collaborative approaches to mobilisation around shared equity and justice concerns. More details

Ebola: Lessons for development

IDS researchers argue that there is an urgent need to look beyond the immediate, on-the-ground concerns of disease control and containment to consider the bigger and broader questions about international development. More details

Engendering Men: Evidence on Routes to Change for Gender Equality (EMERGE)

Our goal is to enable stronger leadership for working with boys and men to promote gender equality. We will do this by gathering, inter-relating and analysing evidence and lessons. These will be strategically disseminated in targeted and accessible formats for improved learning, policy and practice. More details

Food Security, Gender Equality and Peace-Building: Theoretical Framework and Future Agendas

IDS researchers have been commissioned to generate knowledge and evidence-based, actionable recommendations to governments and other stakeholders on the nexus between support to food and nutrition security and building resilient livelihoods, peace processes and stability, and how to integrate gender issues into appropriate policies and actions related to food and nutrition security in situations where conflict exists, has recently ceased, or is likely to reoccur. More details

Gender mainstreaming from the ground up for the World Food Programme

A participatory action-learning and knowledge sharing programme to improve WFPs gender-mainstreaming practices. More details

Growth and Equal Opportunities for Women (GrOW)

The 27-month 'Balancing unpaid care work and paid work: successes, challenges and lessons for women's economic empowerment programmes and policies' project aims to create knowledge about how women's economic empowerment (WEE) policy and programming can generate paid work that empowers women and provides more support for their unpaid care work responsibilities. More details

Highlighting the Invisibility of Unpaid Care

This is a three year project explores why unpaid care work is merited little attention in development policy and programming. We are taking an action learning approach to engaging policy actors on unpaid care, tracking the effects, successes and failures of our policy influencing activities. More details

International Climate Fund: Enhancing Capacity to Deliver on Gender

A partnership between Coffey, IDS and RICARDO AEA has been formed to improve mainstreaming and targeting of women and girls in the International Climate Fund. More details

Labour Regulations and Anti-discrimination Legislation

A review of literature on the impact of labour regulations and anti-discrimination legislation on gender quality in employment in developing countries. More details

Market Based Solutions for the Extreme Poor

Studies have shown that it is often wealthier people in a community who benefit from market approaches to combatting poverty – men more than women, non-disabled more than disabled. So how and to what extent can market-based solutions improve the lives of extremely poor people? More details

Men, Masculinities and HIV

The Men, Masculinities and HIV project is one of the workstreams of the Gender, Power and Sexuality (GPS) programme, funded by Sida. This work stream aims to influence norms and institutions at global and local levels to more effectively tackle the challenge of achieving gender equality, and particularly looking at the role of men in this process. More details

Participation and Gender Justice: Political Empowerment

This project is part of the Gender, Power and Sexuality Programme, funded by Sida. The project is working on two parallel initiatives, firstly, exploring political empowerment programmes for women and secondly, engaging with the international community to challenge and expose gendered forms of violence, particularly when this is politically motivated. More details

Pathways of Women's Empowerment Research Programme Consortium

Pathways is a research and communication programme which seeks to discover where women are achieving real gains despite or because of policy and practice. It looks at how this has happened, and aims to make these pathways visible so that we can build on these revealed successes. More details

Programme Partnership between Irish Aid and IDS on Hunger Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation

Four years on from Irish Aid's landmark Hunger Task Force Report, hunger reduction remains an enormous challenge. This will become more difficult in the context of resource scarcity, climate change, and an increased demand for food in the emerging economies. More details

Pro-Poor Electricity Provision

This programme will develop and promote evidence-based policy and programme guidance on low carbon energy investments to benefit poor people, especially women and girls. More details

Quantifying the Impact of Women’s Participation in Peace Building

Review existing evidence on the importance of women’s activities in local peace-building processes, and on the impact of policy interventions aimed at supporting the social, economic and political roles that women play in peace-building processes. More details

Sexuality and Local Voices

The Sexuality and Development project is one of the workstreams of the Gender, Power and Sexuality (GPS) Programme, funded by Sida. More details

Voices for Change 'Gender Hub'

IDS knowledge-sharing professionals are developing a prototype e-hub for gender experts in Nigeria More details

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Automation, Women, and the Future of Work

Impact Initiative Rapid Response Briefing 1 (2017)

Will women benefit from the rapid automation and digitisation that is set to change the world of work as we know it? How can we ensure that women’s economic interests are brought into focus, and that debates on the future of work are not about the changing relationship between man and machine, but between people and machine? More details

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The Role of Social and Political Action in Advancing Women’s Rights, Empowerment, and Accountability to Women

IDS Working Paper 488 (2017)

Through the lens of four case studies focused on women’s political participation (Palestine and Sierra Leone), and the passage of domestic violence law (Brazil and South Africa), this paper looks at the role of social and political action in advancing women’s rights. More details

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Making Karnali Employment Programme More Care-Responsive

This note examines the Karnali Employment Programme's aim to achieve women's economic empowerment that generates a 'double boon'. More details

This is the front cover of MAVC Practice Paper Building Safe Spaces to Support Young Women’s Participation in Local Governance in Indonesia

Building Safe Spaces to Support Young Women’s Participation in Local Governance in Indonesia

Barriers to young (especially unmarried) women’s participation in public spaces include the prevailing view that doing so violates social norms, young women’s often low level of education, and family expectations. More details

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Care Responsiveness of Livelihoods Programming: The Enterprise Development Programme, Oxfam Nepal

This Programmatic Note seeks to understand how women's economic empowerment (WEE) policy and programming can generate a 'double boon', looking at the work of Oxfam Nepal's EDP programme. More details

This is the front cover of MAVC Practice Paper Giving Voice to Clients of Post-Rape Services: Building and Piloting a Feedback Mechanism in Tshwane

Giving Voice to Clients of Post-Rape Services: Building and Piloting a Feedback Mechanism in Tshwane

This practice paper reflects on the development of an appropriate and confidential feedback mechanism for users of post-rape services at Thuthuzela Care Centres / Rape Crisis Centres in Tshwane, South Africa. More details

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Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

At a time of major changes in global politics and trends, and major shifts in international development following the establishment of the global Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030, the Gender and Sexuality cluster at the Institute of Development Studies engaged in collaborative discussions and consultations over nine months with partner organisations, networks, external experts and policymakers. More details

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Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

We here aim to outline priority directions for future research on gender and sexuality in development, which are needed to advance our understanding of gender and sexuality in an increasingly unequal, polarised and volatile world. More details

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Connecting Unpaid and Paid Care Work to Progress Gender Equality

IDS Policy Briefing 130 (2017)

Globally, paid care work, such as care for children or the elderly is a fast-growing sector of the market economy. Yet, it remains undervalued by governments and citizens in both monetary and societal terms which has damaging implications for women’s economic empowerment and gender relations more broadly. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Gendered (in)security in South Sudan: masculinities and hybrid governance in Imatong state

Peacebuilding (2017)

Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 ended the civil war between north and south Sudan, many citizens of what is now South Sudan have increasingly felt left behind by their government. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Tax and Gender in Developing Countries: What are the Issues?

ICTD Summary Brief 6 (2017)

This brief explains what we have learned about gender and taxation and looks at: why taxation is relevant for gender; where gender is relevant in taxation; bias in tax structures; amongst other themes. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Rapid Response Briefing 15, 'Is Porn the New Sex Education?'

Is Porn the New Sex Education?

IDS Rapid Response Briefing 15 (2016)

Over the past 15 years, internet pornography has become the predominant channel through which young people learn about sex, not just in the developed world, but increasingly in developing countries too. In many developing countries, traditional gatekeepers of sex education, such as governments, religious leaders and parents, still attempt to keep sexuality out of the public sphere. More details

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Gender, Sexuality and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Meta-Analysis of Mechanisms of Exclusion and Avenues for Inclusive Development

IDS Evidence Report 206 (2016)

Through its work, the Institute of Development Studies Sexuality, Poverty and Law programme provides new evidence-based knowledge and policy options support efforts to strengthen the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Galvanising Gender Analysis and Practice in Health Systems

Future Health Systems Key Message Brief 4 (2016)

Gender analysis is an important component of health systems research (HSR) as it reveals how power relations create inequalities in health system needs, experiences, and outcomes among women, men, and people of other genders. Various challenges must be overcome to successfully mainstream gender into health systems practice and research. More details

Non-IDS publication

Gender, sexuality and disadvantage: intimately entwined, but perpetually divorced within international development?

Development Bulletin 77 (2016)

This paper begins with a brief overview of research undertaken by the authors and sexual health and rights practitioners in a Southeast Asian country examining the intersections of gender, sexuality, disadvantage, and how that plays out in reality for practitioners. More details

Non-IDS publication

‘Girls Don’t Become Craftsmen’: Determinants and Experiences of Child Labour in Gemstone Polishing in Jaipur

The Journal of Development Studies (2016)

This journal article explores the determinants and valuations of children’s work and schooling choices drawing on primary mixed-methods research in the gemstone polishing industry of Jaipur, India. More details

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Reducing Violence in a Time of Global Uncertainty

IDS Policy Briefing 122 (2016)

The new Sustainable Development Goal to reduce armed violence is a welcome commitment but the prescriptive nature of its approach is problematic – there is ‘no one size fits all’. Rather, focus needs to be on how violence operates in particular settings. More details

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Avenues for Donors to Promote Sexuality and Gender Justice

IDS Policy Briefing 120 (2016)

Donor agencies agree that addressing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity (SOGI) is not only an important human rights issue but is also integral to efforts to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development. More details

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Impact of Community-led Total Sanitation on Women’s Health in Urban Slums: A Case Study from Kalyani Municipality

IDS Evidence Report 194 (2016)

This Evidence Report seeks to understand the health and other impacts of slum women’s access to sanitation through the Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach. More details

IDS Policy Briefing 118 Front Cover

Migration, Mobility and Marginalisation: Consequences for Sexual and Gender Minorities

IDS Policy Briefing 118 (2016)

As a strategy to avoid discrimination, violence and economic marginalisation, sexual and gender non-conforming people often turn to migration as a route to achieve independence and build social capital. More details

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