Gender violence

Gender-based violence describes acts which result in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, according to the United Nations. It is a global issue, affecting thousands. Women and girls are the most vulnerable to this form of violence but increasingly men and boys are also affected. Tackling gender-based violence requires attention to a number of interrelated areas, including prevention, treatment and legal frameworks.

Uganda, Amuru. Third day of 16 days of activism against gender violence - women demonstrate to demand an end to violence against women. Image credit: Panos

At IDS we believe that work to end gender-based violence will be more successful if it harnesses the power of collective action. Organised activism against gender-based violence is a key way of creating transformative change on attitudes, norms and behaviours, as well as pushing for change in policy and practice.

In our research, we specifically explore:

Interactions: real-time research on gender-based violence

Interactions is an IDS-hosted interactive online resource on Empowering Women and Girls, featuring real-time research and analysis.

The website provides background information on definitions and prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV), examples of some of the most successful interventions and programmes designed to tackle GBV, and an explanation of collective action and its importance in addressing GBV. There is also a list of key reading on the topic, as well as selected case studies gathered in our research.

Key resources from IDS

Cutting Edge Programme on Gender and Social Movements

The BRIDGE Edge Programme on Gender and Social Movements aims to inspire and support collaborative approaches to mobilisation around shared equity and justice concerns. More details

Domestic Violence in Ghana: Prevalence, Incidence and Causes

Providing an in-depth understanding of determinants of domestic violence in Ghana, to strengthen advocacy and advance legal, policy and programmatic interventions aimed at countering domestic violence in Ghana. More details

Engendering Men: Evidence on Routes to Change for Gender Equality (EMERGE)

Our goal is to enable stronger leadership for working with boys and men to promote gender equality. We will do this by gathering, inter-relating and analysing evidence and lessons. These will be strategically disseminated in targeted and accessible formats for improved learning, policy and practice. More details

Gender Based Violence in the Gaza Strip After Israeli Operation 'Protective Edge’

The proposed research attempts to contribute to our knowledge of VAW incidence and prevalence as well as responses, coping strategies and mechanisms of support in the five governorates in Gaza 2015. More details

Interactions Eldis Website

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 More details

Men, Masculinities and HIV

The Men, Masculinities and HIV project is one of the workstreams of the Gender, Power and Sexuality (GPS) programme, funded by Sida. This work stream aims to influence norms and institutions at global and local levels to more effectively tackle the challenge of achieving gender equality, and particularly looking at the role of men in this process. More details

Participation and Gender Justice: Political Empowerment

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. More details

Sexuality and Development Programme (2007-11)

Supporting the realisation of sexual rights and access to basic services for those facing poverty and injustice More details

Tackling Gender-Based Violence in Gaza

This project, funded through IIED's Urban Humanitarian Crises accountable grant, seeks to explore the relationships between occupation violence and sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) in the Gaza strip within the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). More details

Womens Economic Inequality and VAWG consultancy

In this consultancy, Marinella Leone is developing evidence to support arguments and recommendations made in the ActionAid report exploring the interlinkages between women’s economic inequality/ neoliberal policies and Violence against women and girls (VAWG). More details

View all Research Theme's publications

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


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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

This is the cover for the book, 'Women, Sexuality and the Political Power of Pleasure'.

Women, Sexuality and the Political Power of Pleasure

This pioneering collection explores the ways in which positive, pleasure-focused approaches to sexuality can empower women. More details

Image teaser for Evidence Report 21

Policy Audit: Social Protection Policies and Urban Poor LBTs in the Philippines

IDS Evidence Report 21 (2013)

LGBT discourses worldwide have tended to focus on marriage equality at the expense of other equally pressing but sometimes ‘less sexy’ concerns such as gender-based discrimination and violence, and poverty among sexual minorities. 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

This is the teaser image for IDS Evidence Report 7, 'Politically Motivated Sexual Assault and the Law in Violent Transitions: A Case Study from Egypt'.

Politically Motivated Sexual Assault and the Law in Violent Transitions: A Case Study from Egypt

IDS Evidence Report 8 (2013)

This case study is about the use of sexual violence against women and men in order to deter the opposition from engaging in protests and demonstrations in a context of a country in transition, Egypt. More details

Image Teaser for Evidence Report 7

A Progressive Constitution Meets Lived Reality: Sexuality and the Law in South Africa

IDS Evidence Report 7 (2013)

This paper examines two cases of homophobic hate crime in post-apartheid South Africa. It illuminates how activists have used the legal system to address the violence faced by many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex (LGBTQI) South Africans. More details

Image Teaser for Evidence Report 3, 'Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of Women Living with HIV in South Africa'

Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of Women Living with HIV in South Africa

IDS Evidence Report 3 (2013)

South Africa's constitutional and legal framework reflects the country's commitment to women's Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in line with international commitments. Nevertheless, women's rights are still abused and overlooked. More details

Negotiating Culture in the Promotion of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Latin America

IDS Working Paper 407 (2012)

Culture interacts with development in multiple ways. However the importance of culture within development should not be seen as translating to crystallising and solidifying its meaning or providing definitive ideas of what works. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Egyptian Women have had enough of being told to Cover Up

Another woman told me that girls and women wearing mid-sleeved clothing had been slapped on their bare arms by men on bicycles shouting slurs. Another told me she had been spat on by men telling her to cover up. Another told me that she had her hair up in a pony tail and a young man pulled it so hard that she thought her head was going to fall off. Another recounts how she was pushed and elbowed by a passer-by telling her to cover her nakedness (she was wearing a mid-sleeved blouse and trousers). More details

This is the image for 'Mobilising Men in Practice: Challenging Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Institutional Settings'.

Mobilising Men in Practice: Challenging Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Institutional Settings

Gender inequalities, and the violence that maintains them, are not simply a matter of individuals and their behaviours; they are maintained by the social, economic and political institutions that structure all of our lives. More details

IDS publications on international development research

What Makes Domestic Violence Legislation More Effective?

Pathways Policy Paper (2011)

A policy paper by the Pathways of Women's Empowerment programme that looks at the role of women in in the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of policies to confront domestic violence against women. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Effect of Civil Conflicts on Domestic Violence

Job Market Paper (2011)

Civil conflicts will not only increase the incidence of domestic violence among women who are directly exposed to them while growing up, but also among their offspring. Understanding this mechanism is crucial for designing and implementing policies that aim at reducing the level of violence in a society that has experienced a civil conflict, as is the case of Peru. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Combining Microfinance and Training on Gender and HIV – A Proven Approach to Reduce Poverty and Halve Violence Against Women

This paper underscores the potential of microfinance to change the structural dimensions of poor people's lives. It presents findings and lessons from a successful Intervention with microfinance for AIDS and gender equity (IMAGE) partnership between Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF) and Rural AIDS and Development Action Research (RADAR) in South Africa. More details

IDS Research Summary

Using Microfinance to Fight Poverty, Empower Women and Address Gender-based Violence and HIV

IDS Research Summary (2008)

This article provides evidence from rural South Africa on microfinance's ability to reduce poverty and bring about broader social change. It describes the Intervention with Microfinance for AIDS and gender Equity (IMAGE) project jointly conducted by the Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF) and the Rural Aids and Development Action Research (RADAR) Program. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Men, Masculinities and Development: Politics, Policies and Practice

IDS Bulletin 31.2 (2000)

From work in the reproductive health field involving men, to a concern about rising male unemployment and gender-based violence, men and masculinities are now very firmly on the gender and development agenda (GAD). More details

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