Elena Zambelli, Research Officer for the Governance research cluster at IDS

Elena Zambelli - Research Officer

E: e.zambelli@ids.ac.uk


Talia Jenkin

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Elena is a Research Officer at IDS and has over 10 years’ work experience in Gender and Development, which combine a development practitioner profile with teaching and training experiences, and participation in gender justice social movements. With a background in Political Science, she recently completed a PhD in Gender Studies. Her research interests include gender, sexualities, intersectionality, transnational social movements, migration and refugeehood.

Elena built her Gender and Development expertise by working in different capacities for NGOs, GOs, UN organizations, and higher education institutions, and in particular in/on the MENA region. She worked on programs and policies promoting women’s empowerment in the social, political and economic spheres, including by contributing to initiatives aiming to eradicate violence against women and more broadly, gender-based violence.

Her academic background includes a PhD in Gender Studies (SOAS), a MA in Gender and Development (University of Sussex), and a BA in Political Science (University of Bologna). Her PhD dissertation (2016) addressed the relationship between morality, embodiment and work in contemporary Western countries, which she discussed through the lenses of sexuality and sex work.

In recent years she has also been doing research on issues of youth socio-economic inclusion and exclusion in the MENA region, and previously, for her BA, she worked on the tension between gender and nation in the context of Palestinian women’s participation in the struggle for national liberation from Israeli occupation.

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


Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

At a time of major changes in global politics and trends, and major shifts in international development following the establishment of the global Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030, the Gender and Sexuality cluster at the Institute of Development Studies engaged in collaborative discussions and consultations over nine months with partner organisations, networks, external experts and policymakers. More details


Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

We here aim to outline priority directions for future research on gender and sexuality in development, which are needed to advance our understanding of gender and sexuality in an increasingly unequal, polarised and volatile world. More details

Geographic Expertise:
Middle East and North Africa.