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

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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

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

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

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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.


This is the front cover to IDS Bulletin 47 1A, 'Connecting Perspectives on Women’s Empowerment'.

Connecting Perspectives on Women’s Empowerment

IDS Bulletin 47.1A (2016)

This IDS Bulletin makes a timely contribution to our understanding of how ideas around empowerment have evolved and how we can move forward to expand women’s opportunities and choices and realise women’s empowerment in a meaningful way. More details

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Using Participatory Statistics to Examine the Impact of Interventions to Eradicate Slavery: Lessons from the Field

CDI Practice Paper 16 (2016)

This CDI Practice Paper reflects on the use of participatory statistics to assess the impact of interventions to eradicate slavery and bonded labour. More details

Front Cover_What’s law got to do with it?

Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: What's Law Got to Do with It?

Edited Collection (2016)

The contributions to this Edited Collection reveal the complexity of the deceptively simple question posed by its title: Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: What’s Law Got to Do With It? More details

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Improving Access to Health for Women and Girls in Low-income Urban Settlements

IDS Policy Briefing 110 (2016)

The world is becoming increasingly urbanised. Over one third of urban dwellers now reside in low-income urban settlements, where living conditions are often inadequate and there exist multiple barriers to access to health services for women and girls. More details

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Transgender at Work: Livelihoods for Transgender People in Vietnam

IDS Evidence Report 167 (2016)

The laws in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam promote equality for all citizens and refer to ‘persons’ rather than ‘men’ or ‘women’. However, because of traditional gender norms, transgender people in Vietnam are facing severe stigma and discrimination in public, in schools, at home and in the workplace (CCIHP 2011; Hoang 2012; ICS 2015; iSEE 2013). More details

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Redistributing Unpaid Care Work – Why Tax Matters for Women’s Rights

IDS Policy Briefing 109 (2016)

Globally, women perform the great majority of unpaid care work. This unjust distribution of labour has profound impacts on women’s human rights and is both a product and a driver of gender inequality. More details

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Engaging Men for Effective Activism against Sexual and Gender-based Violence

Policy Briefing 108 (2016)

Men are becoming ever more visible as integral partners in tackling sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), holding themselves, peers and power-holders accountable for maintaining harmful gender norms that perpetuate violence. More details

image for non-ids publications

Ejecting Women from Formal Politics in the 'old-new' Egypt 2011-2012

Women the world over are being prevented from engaging in politics. Women’s political leadership of any sort is a rarity and a career in politics rarer still. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Promoting Women’s Attendance at ANC: Target Groups and Motivating Messages

ORIE Research Summary 11 (2016)

This report outlines the main findings of ORIE operations research on promoting women’s use of antenatal care (ANC) services. The study supports refinement of the advocacy strategy for this, implemented by the Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria (WINNN) programme. More details

Non-IDS publication

Resistance, Revolt, and Gender Justice in Egypt

Unlike past and future uprising's during this protest, it was the women who shouted the slogans and the men who tagged along. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Exclusive Breastfeeding and Early Initiation: Target Groups and Influential Messages

ORIE Research Summary 12 (2016)

This briefing outlines the findings from operations research on exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and early initiation. The study supports refinement of the infant and young child feeding (IYCF) strategy implemented by the Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria (WINNN) programme. More details

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Building Alliances to Address Sexual and Gender-based Violence

IDS Policy Briefing 105 (2015)

It is now widely accepted that effective strategies to end sexual and gender-based violence must engage with men and boys. In practice, however, the relationship between traditional women’s rights movements and organisations working on engaging men and boys is an uneasy one. More details

Patterns and Dynamics of Slavery and Bonded Labour in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh: Findings from Life Story Analysis

This report summarises the findings of the analysis of multiple life stories collected across the Freedom Fund slavery hotspot in North India by NGO representatives at the Collective Story Analysis workshop 13-16 May 2015. The authors outline the major findings and key system dynamics that emerged in the story analysis. More details

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Towards More Inclusive Strategies to Address Gender-Based Violence

IDS Policy Briefing 104 (2015)

Sexual and gender-based violence is persistent and devastating, rooted deeply in the lives of men, women, boys and girls globally. Gendered violence does not exist in isolation, and is intertwined with other forms of power, privilege and social exclusion. More details

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Religion, Gender and Sexuality Workshop Report: 1–5 June 2015, Garden Court Hotel, Eastgate, Johannesburg

IDS Evidence Report 162 (2015)

Religious doctrine shapes and informs decision-making at the individual and collective levels, and sexuality and gender rights advocates must therefore work with faith-based organisations and religious activists to challenge harmful and discriminatory sexuality and gender norms and practices. More details

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‘Who Cares’: Reflections on the International-level Advocacy Work of the Unpaid Care Work Programme (2012–2015)

IDS Evidence Report 157 (2015)

At the end of September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be launched. Building on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were officially established in 2000, the SDGs will potentially have 17 goals – one of which was explicitly absent from the MDGs: the unpaid care work of women and girls. More details

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Sexuality, Development and Non-conforming Desire in the Arab World: The Case of Lebanon and Egypt

IDS Evidence Report 158 (2015)

In many developing countries, sexual rights are commonly depicted as trivial concerns pertaining to wealthy citizens of a ‘developed’ Western world. The ‘developing’ world is often thought to have more pressing problems to deal with, such as poverty, violence and corruption. More details

ER154_FrontCover

‘Leave No One Behind’: Gender, Sexuality and the Sustainable Development Goals

IDS Evidence Report 154 (2015)

In an unprecedented move to eradicate disease, poverty and hunger, world leaders joined together in 2000 to sign into life the hotly contested but broadly agreed upon Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework. More details

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‘They Call Me Warrior’: The Legacy of Conflict and the Struggle to End Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Sierra Leone

IDS Evidence Report 155 (2015)

A relatively small country with just over 6 million people, Sierra Leone has been the focus of considerable public and policy attention because of the recent Ebola epidemic and, before that, the decade-long civil war. Given the concern with finding ways to ‘build Sierra Leone differently’ in the post-Ebola context (IDS 2015), this paper considers some of the legacies of the country’s history. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Working paper 463, 'Age and Gender Effects on Time Discounting in a Large Scale Cash Transfer Programme'.

Age and Gender Effects on Time Discounting in a Large Scale Cash Transfer Programme

IDS Working Paper 463 (2015)

Understanding its determinants can provide vital insight into decisions ranging from savings and financial investment to smoking, obesity and human capital accumulation. More details

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