Being bold for change on International Women’s Day

6 March 2017

On 8 March, we not only celebrate International Women’s Day, but thirty years of our Gender and Development Masters course.

Whiteboard campaign

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. 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.

How our students are ‘being bold for change’

Around the world, International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity for ground breaking action that will truly drive greater change for women. So with this year’s campaign theme in mind (#BeBoldForChange), we asked our Gender and Development students and our staff to declare the bold actions they are taking to help progress the gender agenda - because purposeful action can accelerate gender parity across the world.

Here are some of their responses:

“I will be bold to question, challenge and fight my own conscious and unconscious gender biases. I will broaden my knowledge about diversity and inclusion, welcome different experiences and points of view and value every individual as they are. I pledge to speak against gender disparities, stand up for equal rights for all.”
(Bhargabi Ghosh)

“To #BeBoldForChange means to look within oneself – to take a step back from the turbulent forces in the world around us and reflect on the complex, contesting forces within us. To #BeBoldForChange means to recognise that sexism does not merely exist out there, but also within each of us. To be a feminist is not to be a perfect human being, but to have the courage to recognise one’s own privilege and take responsibility for one’s own prejudice. On International Women’s Day, and every day, we must #BeBoldForChange by starting with ourselves and embodying the change we want to make in the world.”
(Nalini Khurana)

“I will #BeBoldForChange by pushing against the dominant narrative that female refugees are helpless victims. This January I ran the Female Friendly Space at the Filippiada Refugee Camp in Greece. I witnessed the transformative power that young women have when given the opportunity to create projects and lead initiatives. Not only did most of these teenagers know three or more languages, they started sewing groups, planned dance nights, created hiking clubs, and fostered a sense of community I rarely see between different cultures. I am now fighting to bring strong women like the ones I met in Greece to Sussex through a refugee scholarship scheme.”
(Sarah Houston)

“One of the ways I will be bold for change is by creating awareness about male domestic violence with Men’s Advice Line in London. Oftentimes, male domestic violence goes unacknowledged.  Described to be ‘the worse place in the country to be a male victim’, the BBC recently reported that London does not have a single safe space for men who experience abuse from their partners. Consequently, they travel to safe spaces in the Midlands and the South Coast or become homeless. Domestic violence must stop happening to men as well as women in homosexual and heterosexual relationships.”
(Shade Agoro) 

What will you do to #BeBoldForChange?

Find out how more of our students and staff are being bold for change via Twitter @ids_uk