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

IDS staff or research student 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

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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

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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.


This is the cover of the Sexuality and Development Workshop Report,

Experiments in using Drama and Theatre to look at Sexuality and Oppression

As part of the Sexuality and Development Programme at IDS, a project was undertaken to explore the application of drama and theatre to research into sexualities. Three workshops were undertaken in Uganda, India and UK to work with different groups working in the areas of gender and sexualities. More details

Front cover of Frontiers of CLTS number 5 by Sarah House and Sue Cavill

Making Sanitation and Hygiene Safer: Reducing Vulnerabilities to Violence

This issue of Frontiers of CLTS focuses on the issue of safety and vulnerabilities to violence that women, girls and sometimes boys and men can face which are related to sanitation and hygiene. More details

ER126_FrontCover

Unpaid Care Work Programme: Uganda Country Progress Report (2012–2014)

IDS Evidence Report 126 (2015)

Uganda is one of three focus countries within the Unpaid Care Work (UCW) programme of the Accountable Grant. The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is partnering with ActionAid International (AAI) to help each of the three country programmes involved to develop and implement an advocacy strategy to make unpaid care work more visible in public policy. More details

ER121_FrontCover

Does War Empower Women? Evidence from Timor Leste

IDS Evidence Report 121 (2015)

Conflicts may change the material conditions and the incentives individuals face through death, displacement and other consequences of violence. Being a victim of a war can also profoundly change individual beliefs, values and preferences (Bellows and Miguel 2009). More details

This is the cover to the report 'Resue and Real Love: Same-sex Desire in International'.

Rescue, and Real Love: Same-sex Desire in International Development

IDS Report (2015)

Fifteen years ago, there was little space within international development policy circles within which we could talk about sexual rights, desire or pleasure. More details

This is the cover for the BRIDGE Cutting Edge pack on Social Movements.

Bridge Gender and Social Movements Cutting Edge Programme: Stories of Influence

Report (2015)

This story of influence provides an evaluation of the Bridge Gender and Social Movements Cutting Edge Programme carried out under the Sida sponsored Gender, Power and Sexuality programme. More details

This is the cover to Stories of Influence: Pathways to Women's Empowerment.

Pathways of Women's Empowerment: Stories of Influence

Report (2015)

This report explores the strand of work developed by the Pathways of Women's Empowerment programme under the IDS Gender, Power and Sexuality Programme supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). It demonstrates how Pathways' existing work related to the overarching programme's emphasis on linking local voices to global arenas to influence policy discourses on gender justice. More details

This is the cover to Stories of Influence: Making Care Visible.

Making Care Visible: Influencing Story on Policy Change on Unpaid Care Work

Report (2015)

This story of influence provides the background to how the unpaid care strand of the Sida sponsored IDS Gender, Power and Sexuality programme has been working with partners in South and South East Asia and in international civil society and policy spaces to raise the visibility of women's unpaid care work as a key issue for development policy and practice. More details

Front cover of 'Streams of Influence: Understanding our Influence on Gender, Power and Sexuality'

Streams of Influence: Understanding our Influence on Gender, Power and Sexuality

Report (2015)

The Streams of Influence report for the IDS Gender, Power and Sexuality Programme supported by the Swedish International Development Agency has been written for the purpose of supporting the programme in the process of learning about influencing, helping partners to unpack their understandings of change and where and how the programme has had influence. More details

This is the cover to Stories of Influence: Men and Masculinities.

From Dakar to Delhi: Politicising Thinking and Policy Discourse on Men and Masculinities

Report (2015)

This report discusses the process and progress of the Men and Masculinities stream of work within the IDS Gender, Power and Sexuality Programme, supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). More details

ER119_FrontCover

When the Hen Crows: Obstacles that Prevent Indigenous Women from Influencing Health-care Policies – A Case Study of Shillong, Meghalaya, India

IDS Evidence Report 119 (2015)

Meghalaya is a landlocked and largely agrarian state in northeast India with an approximate population of three million. Various government surveys report that roughly half the state lives below the poverty line. More details

ER118_FrontCover

Turning the Tide: The Role of Collective Action for Addressing Structural and Gender-based Violence in South Africa

IDS Evidence Report 118 (2015)

The case study discussed in this Evidence Report explores the value and limitations of collective action in challenging the community, political, social and economic institutions that reinforce harmful masculinities and gender norms related to sexual and gender-based violence. More details

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The Pathology of Inequality: Gender and Ebola in West Africa

IDS Practice Paper in Brief 23 (2015)

The international response to Ebola has been decried for being ‘too slow, too little, too late’. As well as racing to respond, we need to consider what has happened over the past decades to leave exposed fault lines that enabled Ebola to move so rapidly across boundaries of people’s bodies, villages, towns and countries. More details

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Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Information and Communications Technologies: A Policy Review and Case Study from South Africa

IDS Evidence Report 113 (2015)

This report explores the intersection between sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and technological means of enhancing health. More details

ER110_FrontCover

Engaging Men and Boys to End Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Sierra Leone: A Stakeholder Mapping Report, June 2014

IDS Evidence Report 110 (2015)

Increasingly, engaging with men and boys has emerged as a vital strategy adopted by non-governmental organisations, national governments, women’s organisations, and international agencies for ending sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and achieving gender equality, including in refugee and post-conflict settings (Barker and Ricardo 2005; Dworkin, Colvin, Hatcher and Peacock 2012). More details

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Coming Together to End Gender Violence: Report of Deliberative Engagements with Stakeholders on the Issue of Collective Action to Address Sexual and Gender-based Violence, and the Role of Men and Boys, October 2014, Cape Town, South Africa

IDS Evidence Report 112 (2015)

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) – physical, psychological, sexual, economic, socio-cultural – is a conspicuous and widespread violation of human rights. More details

ER109_FrontCover

Same-sex Sexualities, Gender Variance, Economy and Livelihood in Nepal: Exclusions, Subjectivity and Development

IDS Evidence Report 109 (2015)

This case study explores the relationship between socioeconomic opportunity and exclusion in relation to minority gender and sexualities in Nepal. More details

ER107_FrontCover

MASVAW Movement Mapping Report: Movement Mapping and Critical Reflection with Activists of the Men’s Action to Stop Violence Against Women (MASVAW) Campaign, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, August 2014

IDS Evidence Report 107 (2015)

Engaging men and boys in addressing gender-based violence has grown in attention over the past 20 years. However, the emerging field predominantly focuses on the issues as a problem of individuals, neglecting the role of the institutions and policies that shape norms of gender inequality and perpetuate violent power asymmetries between men and women in people’s everyday lives. More details

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Livelihood, Exclusion and Opportunity: Socioeconomic Welfare among Gender and Sexuality Non-normative People in India

IDS Evidence Report 106 (2015)

This case study explores the socioeconomic experiences of gender and sexuality minority peoples in India, especially in respect of ways in which sexual and gender ‘difference’ may be correlated to economic hardship and restricted opportunities for livelihood in the context of Indian socioeconomic ‘modernity’ More details

IDS publications on international development research

Lessons from Female Engagement Teams

GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1186 (2015)

Female Engagement Teams (FETs), made up of female soldiers, have been used by International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) to engage with women in Afghanistan. This rapid review looks at the open source evidence on the lessons for what worked well with the use of FETs and what were the main challenges More details

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