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Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed - Research Fellow

Cities; Gender and Sexuality

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Zahrah no longer works at IDS. She is a Human Geographer with extensive experience in gender, urbanisation and international development, mainly around the informal economy in Nigerian cities, and specifically on paid domestic workers in Lagos. Zahrah has an MSc in Urbanisation and Development from the London School of Economics (LSE); and has recently submitted a PhD in Human Geography and Urban Studies, also from the LSE.

Zahrah has undertaken research on a range of issues related to the economic empowerment of women and girls', including making unpaid care work visible in public policy, balancing paid work and unpaid care work, exploring the impact of social protection on rural women's economic empowerment and the shifting roles of men in addressing sexual and gender-based violence.

Zahrah has expertise on qualitative research methodologies, issues of intersectionality, internal labour migration and everyday resistance. Zahrah also has interests in storytelling, and particularly fiction, in international development, with a focus on African literature. She currently runs a blog, bookshy, charting narratives in contemporary African literature.

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.

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Interactions is an IDS-hosted interactive online resource on Empowering Women and Girls, featuring real-time research and analysis. The website features up-to-the minute research findings and policy analysis on gender-based violence, urban health and unpaid care work from IDS and partners

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Connecting Unpaid and Paid Care Work to Progress Gender Equality

IDS Policy Briefing 130 (2017)

Globally, paid care work, such as care for children or the elderly is a fast-growing sector of the market economy. Yet, it remains undervalued by governments and citizens in both monetary and societal terms which has damaging implications for women’s economic empowerment and gender relations more broadly. More details


Inclusive Urbanisation and Cities in the Twenty-First Century

IDS Evidence Report 220 (2017)

In academic and policy discourse, urbanisation and cities are currently receiving a great deal of attention, and rightly so. Both have been central to the enormous transformation the world has been going through during the past few centuries. More details


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


‘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


‘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