Gender, Power and Sexuality: Connecting local voices to global arenas for equality and rights

Our focus on accelerating sustainability recognises this as one of the greatest challenges of our age. Climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss and land degradation are all linked, and affect people across the world. The Sustainable Development Goals have established a vital agenda for all of humanity, but how to realise these huge ambitions is less clear.

Busy street scene in Bangladesh

Our research therefore focuses on how urgently-needed transformations towards sustainability can be achieved. This requires an understanding of diverse pathways, and the political-economic and social processes that facilitate or block them. Sustainability and ‘green’ transformations may be technology, market, state or citizen led – or a combination of all these, depending on the context.

Sustainability is understood in diverse ways by different groups of people, and engaging with these different perspectives is essential to both research and action. Equally, how transformations influence different people is important, and issues of distribution, social justice and the politics of resource use will be central to our work.

Our work on accelerating sustainability in this strategy period builds on a long tradition of environmental social science analysis at IDS, and, over the last decade, in the ESRC STEPS Centre - a joint initiative of IDS, SPRU and Global Studies at the University of Sussex.

G20 Summit, Hamburg 2017

Climate change will be a key theme at the Summit of the Heads of State and Government, being hosted in Hamburg in July 2017. It's likely to be a hotly debate issue, considering President Trump's recent announcement that the USA was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord.

This is a quote from IDS Fellow Wei Shen.

Is there a role for China to step up as a global climate leader?


This year's Conference of the Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will mark one year on from the agreement coming in to force and is due to be held in Bonn, Germany in November 2017.

"Sustainable Lifestyles, Livelihoods and the Circular Economy" (27 - 29 June), 3rd International Conference of the Global Research Forum

Follow the Sustainable Lifestyles, Livelihoods & the Circular EconomyConference via Facebook Live.

Related resources

‘Seeing’ Conflicts at the Margins: Understanding Community Experiences Through Social Research and Digital Narrative in Kenya and Madagascar

In a context of unprecedented investment in natural resource developments, this project bridges the social sciences, the humanities and community-based participatory research to ask how different ‘communities’ of actors ‘see’ and experience resource conflicts in Kenya and Madagascar. We use social science alongside a variety of participatory multimedia methods to open up conflict research to more diverse framings and voices, which can offer new insights on the drivers of resource conflict and pathways to peace. More details

A Global Solution to Protect Water by Transforming Waste

This EPSRC project focuses on the 'peri-urban' environment, which includes areas outside cities that are characterised by poor infrastructure, and poor access to formal water and sanitation services. More details

Accelerating Progress in Reducing Hunger and Undernutrition

This programme will focus on how agriculture can deliver better nutrition outcomes by developing evidence-based policy options and tools for businesses, governments, NGOs and donors. More details

Addressing Synergies and Trade-Offs between Goals for Climate-Resilient Agricultural Systems

What factors lead state and market actors in Africa to commit to implementing more ‘climate smart’ and ‘climate resilient’ agricultural approaches and practices that promoting more sustainable and pro-poor outcomes? This study is examining how different governance systems are handling the complex interface between food, energy, water and climate in pursuit of the SDGs pertaining to these sectors in four countries in Africa. More details

Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Mixed-Methods Study to Inform Policy and Programs

The goal of the Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa study is to strengthen and deepen knowledge of: the employment dynamics of rural young people, and the relationships between these dynamics and welfare; and the socially and spatially differentiated perspectives of rural young people on work, employment and livelihoods. Research is taking place in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso. More details

China's Emergence as a Global Recycling Hub

This work investigates how China's rise as a global recycling hub affects other countries' prospects for moving towards a circular economy. More details

Development and Management of NAMAs in India

The overall objective of the project is that the Government of India starts using Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) as one of the mechanisms for addressing climate change mitigation. More details

Future Agricultures Consortium

The DFID funded Future Agricultures Consortium is an Africa-based alliance of research organisations seeking to provide timely, high-quality and independent information and advice to improve agricultural policy and practice in Africa. More details

Global Nutrition Report

The Global Nutrition Report aims to convene existing nutrition data and processes, highlight progress in improving nutrition status, outline areas for action, and contribute to stronger accountability for nutrition. It provides a fresh perspective on the prevalence of malnutrition, on efforts to reduce it, and on the capacities and data needed to drive such efforts. More details

Green Growth Diagnostics for Africa

This project is looking into the heart of the electricity supply crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. More details

Market Systems Approaches to Enabling Women's Economic Empowerment through Addressing Unpaid Carework

Market systems programmes are increasingly recognising the important role that women play in market activity and including women’s economic empowerment and gender equality objectives. However, unpaid care work is a significant and regularly overlooked factor which affects women’s economic, political and social activities. More details

Market-Based Mangrove Afforestation and Reforestation in Kenya and India

This study aims to understand and compare processes and relationships associated with the ‘marketization of nature’ – how nature-based commodities and markets for trading them are brought into being – in the context of mangrove afforestation, reforestation and restoration projects in Kenya and India. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

Strengthening Evidence-based Policy - The Future of Resource/Waste Management in Big Cities of India

The project explores how transformational thinking on resource management could lead to multiple scenarios in the context of emerging economies with a specific focus on India. More details

Who Drives Climate-Relevant Policies in the Rising Powers?

This project is concerned with the political economy analysis of climate change policies. The central question of the project is who drives/obstructs climate change policies in the rising powers, paying special attention to renewable energy policies. 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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IDS publications on international development research

Reframing Men and Boys in Policy for Gender Equality: Conceptual Guidance and an Agenda for Change

Drawing on global evidence from the Department for International Development (DFID)-funded EMERGE programme, this paper explains why better engaging men and boys is crucial, the implications for reframing policy design and implementation, and provides key recommendations for policy. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Rapid Response Briefing, 'Examining the Implications of PrEP as HIV Prevention for Sex Workers'.

Examining the Implications of PrEP as HIV Prevention for Sex Workers

IDS Rapid Response Briefing 12 (2016)

Some people do not want to use condoms – because they want to conceive or they perceive that they are a barrier to intimacy. New medication to prevent HIV, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), could provide protection where condoms are not used. 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: 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

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: 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

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 for the book Changing Narratives of Sexuality.

Changing Narratives of Sexuality

Changing Narratives of Sexuality engages with women's sexuality exploring marginal as well as dominant stories in which sexuality may figure overtly or covertly as the subject. This impressive collection brings together a broad range of arenas in which sexuality is embedded. More details

This is the cover for the book Women in Politics: Gender, Power and Development.

Women in Politics: Gender, Power and Development

Women the world over are being prevented from engaging in politics. Women’s political leadership of any sort is a rarity and a career in politics rarer still. More details

This is the cover for the book Feminisms, Empowerment and Development.

Feminisms, Empowerment and Development

The economic and political empowerment of women continues to be a central focus for development agencies worldwide; access to medical care, education and employment, as well as women's reproductive rights remain key factors effecting women's autonomy. More details

This is the cover of the book Voicing Demands: Feminist Activism in Transitional Contexts.

Voicing Demands: Feminist Activism in Transitional Contexts

Voicing Demands is a collection of analytical narratives of what has happened to feminist voice, a key pathway to women’s empowerment. More details

This is the image of IDS Bulletin 45.1, 'Undressing Patriarchy: Men and Structural Violence'.

Undressing Patriarchy: Men and Structural Violence

IDS Bulletin 45.1 (2014)

It explores the shifting field of men and masculinities and how often conflicted engagements with the feminist project of redressing gender inequalities might be radicalised through a deeper analysis of patriarchy and our relationship to it, as well as by linking it to other struggles for sexual and human rights, or social justice. More details

Non-IDS publication

Feminist Activism, Women's Rights, and Legal Reform

This collection investigates the relationship between feminist activism and legal reform as a pathway to gender justice and social change. More details

This is the image for Undressing Patriarchy: Redressing Inequalities.

Undressing Patriarchy: Redressing Inequalities

Patriarchy may be seen as an old-fashioned term with little relevance to current work on gender, yet these kinds of questions motivated participants to get excited about the notion of ‘Undressing Patriarchy’ and inspired them to draft background papers and to travel across the world to take part in this conversation. More details

cover of publication: Sexuality and Development: An Annotated Bibliography

Sexuality and Development Programme: An Annotated Bibliography

This is an annotated bibliography that has been put together by the IDS Sexuality and Development Programme. More details

cover page of In Brief publication on Gender and Social Movements

Gender and Social Movements

This In Brief bulletin, part of BRIDGE's Cutting Edge Pack on gender and social movements, explains why it is so important for all progressive social movements to commit to thinking about and transforming women’s rights and patriarchal power relations, both in their external-facing activism and their internal cultures and practices. More details

cover page of BRIDGE Cutting Edge report on 'Gender and Social Movements'

Gender and Social Movements Overview Report

This report has been developed as part of the BRIDGE Cutting Edge Programme on Gender and Social Movements. More details

Cover page for S. Jolly paper 'Sexuality and the Economy in China'

Sexuality and the Economy in China

This publication examines the changing relationships between sex and money in contemporary China. Factors such as marriage or other forms of sexual expression still impact upon access to resources, whilst financial and economic status impacts dramatically upon access to sex and partners, as well as opportunities for pleasure and sexual expression. More details

Non-IDS publication

Paid Work, Women's Empowerment and Inclusive Growth: Transforming the Structures of Constraint

Drawing on household survey data collected in Egypt, Ghana and Bangladesh as part of the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment Research Partners’ Consortium, this report provides insights into the ‘resource’ pathways that enhance women’s agency and thereby contribute to the inclusiveness of the economic growth process. More details

IDS publications on international development research

30%: Women and Politics in Sierra Leone

Women and Politics in Sierra Leone - the trailer to the innovative documentary short about the 30% quota bill. More details

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