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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IDS publications on international development research

Women Engaging Politically: Beyond Magic Bullets and Motorways

Pathways Policy Paper (2011)

This policy paper adopts an upside-down approach to women’s political empowerment. While the number of women we need to get into legislatures has often assumed centrestage, this paper takes women’s pathways as its starting point. More details

IDS publications on international development research

What Makes Domestic Violence Legislation More Effective?

Pathways Policy Paper (2011)

A policy paper by the Pathways of Women's Empowerment programme that looks at the role of women in in the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of policies to confront domestic violence against women. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Contextualising the Economic Pathways of Women's Empowerment: Findings from a Multi-Country Research Programme

Pathways Policy Paper (2011)

This is a policy paper, based on findings of reserach undertaken by the Pathways of Women's Empowerment research programme in Bangladesh, Egypt and Ghana. More details

IDS publications on international development research

How Can Social Protection Provide Social Justice for Women?

Pathways Policy Paper (2011)

In this Pathways Policy Paper, the author uses examples from Pathways research on Conditional Cash Transfers in Egypt, and experiences from Brazil to demonstrate the effectiveness of a feminist approach to social protection in meeting women's needs. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Supporting Pathways of Women's Empowerment: A Brief Guide for International Development Organisations

Pathways Policy Paper (2011)

This brief by Rosalind Eyben informs the debate around what women's empowerment means and how to best support it with empirical evidence from the five-year international research programme, Pathways of Women's Empowerment. More details

This is the cover to IDS Working Paper 375, 'Does Paid Work Provide a Pathway to Women’s Empowerment? Empirical Findings from Bangladesh'/

Does Paid Work Provide a Pathway to Women's Empowerment? Empirical Findings from Bangladesh

IDS Working Paper 375 (2011)

The debate about the relationship between paid work and women’s position within the family and society is a long standing one. More details

This is the cover of National Discourses on Women’s Empowerment in Bangladesh: Continuities and Change

National Discourses on Women’s Empowerment in Bangladesh: Continuities and Change

IDS Working Paper 368 (2011)

This paper explores how these perceptions and narratives around women’s empowerment have evolved in Bangladesh from 2000 to date. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Transformative Social Protection Programming for Children and their Carers: a Gender Perspective

Gender & Development 19.2 (2011)

Although social protection has gained substantial attention in recent years as a development measure and long-term response to poverty and vulnerability, it is also being increasingly criticised for failing to pay adequate attention to differences between social groups and the different problems they face in terms of access and take-up of provisions and services. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Girls in Transition—How to Build Evidence and Gain Insight

Child Indicators Research DOI 10.1007/s12187-011-9113-7 (2011)

As a result of the increased acknowledgement that children deserve a special focus in poverty measurement, the range of measures aiming to capture the specific nature of child poverty and vulnerability has increased in size and scope over the last few years. More details

Snap-shot of JotoAfrika Issue 6

Women as Key Players in Climate Change Adaptation, JotoAfrika

Gender often dictates who gains and loses in environmental disasters, so it is vital to take gender issues into account when formulating climate change adaptation practice and policy. Additionally, in Africa, women are closely involved in natural resource management and are a huge source of local knowledge. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Settler and his Wife: Gender and the Politics of Displacement

Deportees, Exiles and Refugees 'Deportate, esuli, profughe' 17 (2011)

This article offers conceptual and political perspectives on gender and development induced displacement. By drawing on examples from India, China and other parts of the world, it shows how displaced women are often caught in a double bind with male and gender biases negatively affecting their lives and livelihoods. More details

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Introduction: Gender, Rights and Religion at the Crossroads

IDS Bulletin 42.1 (2011)

We are at a critical conjuncture in our engagement with issues of religion, politics and women’s equality – in particular in relation to the so-called ‘Muslim world’. More details

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