Influencing Policies to Support the Empowerment of Women and Girls

The research programme 'Influencing Policies to Support the Empowerment of Women and Girls' is a collaborative programme with a number of leading research partners across the globe, led by IDS. The project runs for a four-year period from 2012-2016.

The main aim of the research is to examine how to build an enabling environment for the empowerment of women and girls. Specifically, the research is split into three main areas:

Gender-based violence 

Examining how collective action, involving women and men in social movements and coalitions is able to effectively address gender-based violence. In particular it examines the involvement of men and boys in working on issues to do with gender-based violence. Our study countries include Egypt, India, Kenya, Sierra Leone and South Africa.

Urbanisation and health

Understanding the effects of urbanisation and urban environments on the health of women and girls in low-income settings. Examining issues of non-communicable diseases, mental health, sanitation, sex work, infrastructure and HIV. Study countries include South Africa.

Unpaid care

Analysing the conditions under which policy actors recognise or ignore the significance of unpaid care work. Study countries include Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda.

Amongst the expected outcomes is greater recognition amongst policy-makers of the importance of unpaid care work and of interventions which build a better environment for women and girls' urban health care. The programme is also be expected to challenge current attitudes to gender based violence.

IDS has long played a prominent part in promoting policies to support the empowerment of women and girls. The Institute is home to BRIDGE, a gender research and communications programme aimed at providing accessible and diverse information to bridge the gaps between theory, policy and practice. IDS also led the Pathways of Women's Empowerment research consortium, with partners in South Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Researchers from right across IDS focus on gender issues and will contribute to this new programme.

Interactions website: Empowerment of Women and Girls

The Interactions website provides real-time research on the empowerment of women and girls. Categorised into three main themes (gender-based violence, urbanisation and health, and unpaid care work), this website provides access to a wealth of resources in connection with this programme. Content includes key issues guides, policy findings, country profiles, case studies, researcher profiles, photo stories and blogs.

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA)

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year, DFID-funded, research programme consortium which aims to produce new evidence and policy insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa and their differential outcomes for local people and economies. More details

View all Research Programme's publications

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

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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


Balancing Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work to Achieve Women’s Economic Empowerment

IDS Policy Briefing 83 (2015)

It is widely known that women’s economic empowerment can lead to economic growth. However, it is important to understand women’s economic empowerment as not simply about labour force participation, but also about the choice to work, the choice of sector, location and working hours. More details


Gender-Equitable Public Investment: How Time-Use Surveys Can Help

IDS Policy Briefing 82 (2014)

Macroeconomic policy often fails to recognise the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work on women, and as a result reinforces both gender and income inequalities. More details


Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs November 2012 – March 2014

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2014)

Knowledge and evidence are important elements of all policy processes. While the availability of more or higher quality evidence does not guarantee better policy processes, it is difficult to imagine how development policy and outcomes can be improved without it. More details

ER70 Front Cover

Men in Collective Action on SGBV in Kenya: A Case Study

IDS Evidence Report 70 (2014)

This case study examines the ways in which collective action and the involvement of men may influence the prospects of effectively changing community perceptions and values regarding sexual and gender-based violence, and how it may strengthen the overall response to the problem in Kenya. More details

This is the cover for IDS Working Paper 442, 'The Politics of Mobilising for Gender Justice in Egypt from Mubarak to Morsi and Beyond'.

The Politics of Mobilising for Gender Justice in Egypt from Mubarak to Morsi and Beyond

IDS Working Paper 442 (2014)

This paper examines the nature of the political struggle over the status, role and identity of women in Egypt in between the two revolutions (January 2011 and June 2013). More details

ER67 Front Cover

Maternal Mental Health in the Context of Community-based Home Visiting in a Re-engineered Primary Health Care System: A Case Study of the Philani Mentor Mothers Programme

IDS Evidence Report 67 (2014)

This document constitutes a briefing summary of the case study of a maternal mental health intervention in South Africa, the Philani Mentor Mothers Programme. More details

ER62 Front Cover

The Shifting Roles of Men in Collective Action on SGBV in Kenya: Report of a Movement and Influence Mapping Workshop, Nairobi, 3–5 July 2013

IDS Evidence Report 62 (2014)

Over a decade and a half on from the landmark declarations of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (UN 1994) and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (UN 1995), there is now a growing consensus on the importance of engaging men and boys in efforts to stop violence against women and girls. More details

ER54 Front Cover

Unpaid Care Work Programme: Nepal Progress Report (2012–13)

IDS Evidence Report 54 (2014)

This report covers the progress of the programme in Nepal over the first year and a half of the four-year programme. For a programme aimed at influencing national policy, it is critical to understand the political economy context of Nepal. More details

Teaser image for Policy Briefing 49

Towards Gender Equality with Care-sensitive Social Protection

IDS Policy Briefing 49 (2014)

Unpaid care work and social protection are intrinsically linked. In order to address this challenge, policies must recognise the value of women’s work, shift the burden of care work away from women and families and improve access to the vital services that will help improve women and girls’ wellbeing. More details

Front cover for Evidence Report 48

Reclaiming the Streets for Women’s Dignity: Effective Initiatives in the Struggle against Gender-Based Violence in between Egypt’s Two Revolutions

IDS Evidence Report 48 (2014)

This paper is about the struggle to combat gender-based violence in public space in Egypt through the sustained collective action of vigilante groups who organically formed to respond to the increasing encroachment on women in public space from 2011 onwards. More details

Image teaser for ER46

Country Progress Report (2012-2013): Nigeria

IDS Evidence Report 46 (2013)

IDS is partnering with ActionAid International (AAI) to help each of the four ActionAid countries to develop and implement an advocacy strategy on making unpaid care work visible in public policy, as well as integrate unpaid care work issues into each country’s programming. More details

The Health of Women and Girls in Urban Areas with a Focus on Kenya and South Africa: A Review

The Health of Women and Girls in Urban Areas with a Focus on Kenya and South Africa: A Review

IDS Evidence Report 42 (2013)

This thematic review focuses on a range of health challenges faced in particular by women and girls living in low-income urban settlements in expanding cities in Kenya and South Africa. More details

Image Teaser for ER27

A Case Study of Community-Level Intervention for Non-Communicable Diseases in Khayelitsha, Cape Town

IDS Evidence Report 27 (2013)

This case study looks at tackling the burden of non-communicable diseases in Cape Town, South Africa. More details

Image Teaser for ER14

Database of Collective Actors Involving Men Tackling Gender-Based Violence in Public Space in Post-Mubarak Egypt

IDS Evidence Report 14 (2013)

This work on collective action in the face of gender-based violence seeks to understand the extent to which GBV can become a community issue that engages men in challenging and confronting violent and abusive behaviour towards women. More details

Image Teaser for ER10

Battling with Increased Gender-Based Violence in Egypt’s Transition: Report on the Scoping Workshop held in Cairo, November 2012

IDS Evidence Report 10 (2013)

This report is about a scoping workshop held by the Institute of Development Studies in collaboration with the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA). More details

Image Teaser for Evidence Report 9

A Feminist Political Economy Analysis of Public Policies Related to Care: A Thematic Review

IDS Evidence Report 9 (2013)

Unpaid care work is directly linked to the economic empowerment of women and girls. There is a large and robust body of evidence about the extent of unpaid care work that women and girls do, and its contributions to both the economy and human development outcomes. But is this evidence being used to inform public policy? More details

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