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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IDS Alum More details

IDS staff or research student More details

Photo of Becky Mitchell 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

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

Photo of Elaine Mercer, Editorial Coordinator, Bridge More details

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

Photo of Jenny Edwards, PPSC research team More details

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IDS staff or research student More details

Photo of Linda Waldman, KNOTS Research Fellow More details

Photo of Lyla Mehta More details

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Balancing unpaid care work and paid work

The '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

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

Democratisation, Decentralisation, Local Governance: IDS-SDC Collaboration

The aim of this third phase of cooperation between IDS and SDC is to share learning and collaborate on policy engagement in priority areas of decentralised and democratic local governance. 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

GSDRC

GSDRC provide high quality, timely knowledge products to support international development planning, policymaking and other activities area. This includes a document library, a research helpdesk and email bulletins 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

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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View all Research Theme's publications

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IDS publications on international development research

From the Ground Up: Women's Roles in Local Peacebuilding in Afghanistan, Liberia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sierra Leone

Published by Action Aid, this report provides qualitative evidence on the roles of women in local peace-building in five countries: Afghanistan, Liberia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sierra Leone. It examines how women, supported by women's rights organisations, are building peace in their communities. More details

Non-IDS publication

Fellow Travellers in Development

Third World Quarterly 33.8 (2012)

Although what has been called 'the people-centred development decade' of international aid in the 1990s can be explained at the systemic level by the end of the Cold War, such an account does not tell us how it actually came about. This article argues that a contributory factor can be identified through the life-histories of a generation of development semi- professionals, women now in their sixties who were caught up and part of two great emancipatory moments in the second half of the 20 century: freedom from colonialism and women's liberation. More details

This is the image for IDS Working Paper 397, ' Strategies of Feminist Bureaucrats: United Nations Experiences'.

Strategies of Feminist Bureaucrats: United Nations Experiences

IDS Working Paper 397 (2012)

This paper explores the challenges and opportunities for feminists working as women’s rights and gender equality specialists in the United Nations as analysed from a practitioner perspective. More details

This is the image for IDS Working Paper 397, ' Strategies of Feminist Bureaucrats: United Nations Experiences'.

Strategies of Feminist Bureaucrats: Perspectives from International NGOs

IDS Working Paper 396 (2012)

This paper explores the challenges and opportunities for feminists working as women’s rights and gender equality specialists in international non-governmental development organisations, as analysed from an insider practitioner perspective. More details

APCOM and IDS Knowledge Services policy brief on HIV prevention and men who have sex with men living with HIV

More than a virus: HIV prevention and men who have sex with men living with HIV

APCOM Policy Brief (2012)

This policy brief examines current best practice and guidance for MSM programming in Asia and the Pacific More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Effect of Civil Conflicts on Women’s Labour Force Participation: A Causal Mechanism Approach

Job Market Paper (2012)

This essay investigates how civil conflict affects women's labor force participation and provides evidence that part of this effect is through the mechanism of domestic violence exposure. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Effects of the Chilean Divorce Law on Women’s First Birth Decisions

(2012)

In this investigation I evaluate the impact of the introduction of divorce in Chile in 2004 on women’s decision about when to have a first child. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Egyptian Women have had enough of being told to Cover Up

Another woman told me that girls and women wearing mid-sleeved clothing had been slapped on their bare arms by men on bicycles shouting slurs. Another told me she had been spat on by men telling her to cover up. Another told me that she had her hair up in a pony tail and a young man pulled it so hard that she thought her head was going to fall off. Another recounts how she was pushed and elbowed by a passer-by telling her to cover her nakedness (she was wearing a mid-sleeved blouse and trousers). More details

IDS publications on international development research

Mutilating Bodies: The Muslim Brotherhood's Gift to Egyptian Women

In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood have offered to circumcise women for a nominal fee as part of their community services, a move that threatens to reverse decades of local struggle against the harmful practice argues Mariz Tadros More details

IDS publications on international development research

To Politically Empower Women on a Global Scale we need more than Quotas

If we are serious about promoting gender justice, we must turn political empowerment upside down. More details

This is the image for IDS Working Paper 389, 'Women’s Empowerment Revisited: From Individual to Collective Power among the Export Sector Workers of Bangladesh'.

Women’s Empowerment Revisited: From Individual to Collective Power among the Export Sector Workers of Bangladesh

IDS Working Paper 389 (2012)

Bangladesh has become known as something of a success in advancing gender equality since the 1990s. Yet as this paper notes, close observers of social change in Bangladesh have become dissatisfied with the limits of a focus on individual economic empowerment. More details

IDS Working Paper

Afghan Values or Women’s Rights? Gendered Narratives about Continuity and Change in Urban Afghanistan

IDS Working Paper 387 (2012)

There is considerable debate about the extent to which gender equality and womens’ rights are universal values. This debate has been particularly heated in Afghanistan where the violation of women’s rights by the Taliban regime was one justification used by the US and its allies for their invasion of the country. More details

This is the image for 'Politicising Masculinities: Beyond the Personal'.

Politicising Masculinities: Beyond the Personal

During 15–18 October 2007, a diverse mix of people came together in Dakar, Senegal, to debate issues of men, gender and power: unconventional practical academics, open-minded policymakers, reflective practitioners and activists. It was a unique gathering and offered a unique opportunity – to inform and inspire a greater engagement by men in the struggle for gender justice and broader social change. More details

Front page of Insights Issue 82 on Innovative approaches to gender and food security

Innovative approaches to gender and food security (Insights)

Insights 82 (2012)

Development policy and practice can both potentially improve food security while supporting women’s empowerment - but how? More details

IDS publications on international development research

Pathways Case Study Cards

This pack of 20 vibrantly drawn cards provides a clear and very accessible entry into some of Pathways’ research findings and recommendations. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Rights and Resources: The Effects of External Financing on Organising for Women’s Rights

This is a synthesis report of a study to clarify the conditions under which external financial support to women’s rights organisations has a positive impact on women’s empowerment, as well as the conditions in which successful women’s organising is achievable without such support. More details

Men and Development: Politicizing Masculinities

Men and Development: Politicizing Masculinities features an exciting collection of contributions from some of today's leading thinkers and practitioners in the field of men, masculinities and development. More details

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