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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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

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Wp494 Cover

‘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

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

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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

NewDirections_brief

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

NewDirections_report

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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