International Women’s Day – a spotlight on gender and development

Published on 6 March 2020

This International Women’s Day the theme is ‘an equal world is an enabled world’ and achieving gender equality and gender justice continues to be a global aim under the UN Global Goal 5 and one that cuts across all aspects of international development.  Building on IDS’ 40 year history on the frontline of gender and development is new research on a rising backlash against the global fight for women’s rights and gender justice and how activism, policy and the role of men can help to counter it. Alongside this is a new IDS Bulletin on gender and energy, and work by the International Centre for Tax and Development on gender and informal taxation.

In a context of rapid urbanisation, widening social inequality and religious fundamentalism, sustaining and increasing gains for women’s rights is an increasingly uphill struggle.  The two new research programmes examining backlash against gender justice – Countering Backlash: Reclaiming Gender Justice and Sustaining Power for Women’s Rights in South Asia (SuPWR) – in total cover six countries across South Asia, East Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.  One area of focus of the research will be to learn from experiences of backlash in different countries and to understand how to best mobilise alliances and coalitions for counter it.

Countering Gender backlash interviews

The following interviews were done with researchers from the project Countering Backlash: Reclaiming Gender Justice and were asked the following questions.

‘What does gender backlash look like in your country?’

‘Why do we need to research backlash against women’s rights and gender equality?

Gender equality and energy

Ahead of International Women’s Day, a new IDS Bulletin shared important evidence on how understanding the differences between women and men in how they access and use energy is vital for achieving gender equality. The IDS Bulletin ‘How women access and use energy is vital for achieving gender equality’ edited by Ana Puyeo and Mar Maestre, features contributions from a range of researchers from the Netherlands, Peru, South Africa, and the USA.

Economic empowerment

On women’s economic empowerment, a recent briefing on women’s economic engagement and childcare summarised research on turning a triple burden to a triple boon – moving women towards decent paid work, less unpaid domestic chores and more support for childcare. The briefing is part of the ‘Balancing unpaid care work and paid work’ project, with research on women’s economic empowerment policies in India, Nepal, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Toilet taxes placing unfair burdens on women

The International Centre for Tax and Development, based at IDS, has found from its research programme on gender and tax, that in markets in Dar es Salaam women traders pay up to 18 times more for their daily use of toilets than they pay in market taxes – equivalent to 20% of their daily income. Subsequent research in Zimbabwe found women traders faced similarly heavy burdens to use the toilets.

Read Dr Jalia Kangave’s blog “This Women’s Day, we need to talk about toilet taxes” and watch the video:



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