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

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Women in Local Peacebuilding Research

Documenting the role of women in local peacebuilding, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Liberia. More details

Youth in Fragile Settings

This project aims to build an evidence base that maps the role young people – particularly young women – have played in contributing to processes that sought to or did address fragility as well as examine gaps and challenges with the ultimate aim of increasing the voice and participation of young people around the world. More details

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View all Research Theme's publications

Use this search to display this theme's publications and filter by journal, author, country and much more.


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ESRC-DFID Research for Policy and Practice: Women's Life Choices

This collection of ESRC-DFID-funded research identifies critical elements that are important to address if women’s and girls’ lives are to change for the better. The research looks at the mobility constraints experienced by girls and how a lack of access to means of transport hampers their access to paid work, health services, and schooling. More details

Keeping African Girls in School with Better Sanitary Care

For young girls in developing countries, not knowing how to manage their periods can hinder access to education. Research from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London demonstrates that in rural Uganda, providing free sanitary products and lessons about puberty to girls may increase their attendance at school. More details

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Gender and Intersecting Inequalities in Local Government in South Asia

IDS Working Paper 507 (2018)

This paper is an evidence review of how intersecting forms of inequalities influence women’s political participation and representation at the local level in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. More details

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No Time to Rest: Women’s Lived Experiences of Balancing Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work

Synthesis Report (2017)

This report provides evidence on the lived experiences of women in low-income families, as they strive to balance their paid work and unpaid care work responsibilities. It presents the findings of a mixed-methods research project carried out in India, Nepal, Rwanda, and Tanzania during 2015–17. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Making Women Development Fund More Care-Responsive

This note discusses the main findings of research into the care-sensitivity of the Women Development Fund. The fund was established by the Government of Tanzania in 1992 to support the economic empowerment of women, and especially rural women. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Oxfam’s Food Security for Tanzania Farmers Programme: Guidelines for Achieving the Double Boon

This note discusses the main findings of the research into the care-sensitivity of the Oxfam Food Security for Tanzania Farmers programme (2012–15). More details

This is the front cover to IDS Working paper 500, 'A Trapeze Act: Balancing Unpaid Care Work and Paid Work by Women in Nepal'.

A Trapeze Act: Balancing Unpaid Care Work and Paid Work by Women in Nepal

IDS Working Paper 500 (2017)

This working paper seeks to examine the relationship between unpaid care work and paid work that women in low-income households in Nepal perform, and whether, and if so how, they are able to maintain a balance between the two. More details

IDS publications on international development research

A Trapeze Act: Women Balancing Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in Nepal

Research discussed in this report looks at two Women's Economic Empowerment programmes in Nepal and makes recommendations at state, non-state, market, community and family levels. More details

IDS publications on international development research

'My Mother Does a Lot of Work': Women Balancing Paid and Unpaid Care Work in Tanzania

This report presents the findings of research into women's economic empowerment programmes conducted in Tanzania as part of the ‘Balancing unpaid care work and paid work' project. More details

IDS publications on international development research

‘My Work Never Ends’: Women Balancing Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in India

A study of two Women's Economic Empowerment programmes in India: the state-run Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the non-state Self Employed Women’s Association in Madhya Pradesh (SEWA MP). More details

IDS publications on international development research

‘You Cannot Live Without Money’: Women Balancing Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in Rwanda

Following a survey of women in Rwanda about the balance between their paid and unpaid work commitments, this report argues that despite men being encouraged to become more involved in care activities, there is a need for advocacy at the household level about sharing care activities. More details

IDS publications on international development research

'My Mother Does a Lot of Work': Women Balancing Paid and Unpaid Care Work in Tanzania

This report presents the findings of research conducted in Tanzania as part of the ‘Balancing unpaid care work and paid work: successes, challenges and lessons for women’s economic empowerment programmes and policies’ research project. More details

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‘My Work Never Ends’: Women’s Experiences of Balancing Unpaid Care Work and Paid Work through WEE Programming in India

IDS Working Paper 494 (2017)

This paper seeks to lay bare the contours and consequences of the relationship between paid work and unpaid care work for women in low-income households, in order to better understand the relationship between women’s participation in paid work and ‘economic empowerment’. More details

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‘How Can It Be a Problem If You Need Them Both?’ Women Juggling Paid and Unpaid Care Work in Tanzania

IDS Working Paper 495 (2017)

This paper summarises the findings of mixed-methods research that was carried out in Tanzania as part of the ‘Balancing Unpaid Care Work and Paid Work: Successes, Challenges and Lessons for Women’s Economic Empowerment Programmes and Policies’ research project (2015–17). It reflects the voices and experiences of women and their household members participating in women’s economic empowerment (WEE) programmes across four sites in the rural districts of Korogwe and Lushoto in Tanga region. More details

IDS publications on international development research

ActionAid’s Food Security and Economic Empowerment Programme in Muko Sector, Northern Rwanda: Guidelines for Achieving the Double Boon

ActionAid Rwanda's programme Improving Food Security and Economic Opportunities for Women project in Muko sector is examined to see how it has contributed to heightened economic empowerment amongst female beneficiaries and whether it may have promoted a ‘double boon’; that is, paid work that empowers women and provides more support for their unpaid care work responsibilities. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Making Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme Public Works Care-Responsive

This note examines how Rwanda's Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme Public Works can avoid a ‘double burden’ on working women and instead generate a ‘double boon’ by providing paid work that empowers women and supports their unpaid care work responsibilities. More details

This is the Front Cover of Frontiers 10 Equality and Non-discrimination (EQND) in sanitation programmes at scale (part 1 of 2)

Equality and Non-Discrimination (EQND) in Sanitation Programmes at Scale (Part 1 of 2)

Frontiers of CLTS 10 (2017)

A well-facilitated Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programme that pro-actively considers and involves people who might be disadvantaged has been shown to have many benefits. This issue of Frontiers of CLTS looks at who should be considered potentially disadvantaged, how they can effectively participate and what may be needed to address diverse needs in order to make processes and outcomes sustainable and inclusive. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Learning from 30 years of the Self Employed Women’s Association in Madhya Pradesh (SEWA MP)

This Programmatic Note examines the work of SEWA in Madhya Pradesh, India, to understand how women's economic empowerment policy and programming can generate a 'double boon' – paid work that empowers women and provides more support for their unpaid care work responsibilities. More details

IDS publications on international development research

‘You Cannot Live Without Money’: Women Balancing Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in Rwanda

This report details the findings of research into women's economic empowerment programmes in Rwanda, and outlines recommendations for future policy and programming. More details

Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls in Gaza

This working paper presents the findings of a research project on the protection of women against violence in the context of urban humanitarian crises. More details

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