Image of Sohela Nazneen

Sohela Nazneen

Research Fellow

Sohela Nazneen has 16 years of experience in research, teaching, policy analysis and advocacy on gender and development issues. Her research largely focuses on gender and governance, rural livelihoods, social and women’s movements.

She is currently leading a six–country research understand the relations between women’s inclusion in politics and their influence on education policy and domestic violence legislation in selected South Asian and Sub Saharan African countries for the Effective States and Inclusive Development (esid) Research Center. Sohela is also the political economy analysis co-ordinator for the Global Girls Research Initiative (GGRI), focusing on specific cases of policy and legal reforms across different contexts. She is the co-Principal Investigator in an ESRC-DFID funded project that explores women’s labour market participation in India and Bangladesh.

Sohela completed her MA in Gender and Development and her PhD on ‘gender sensitive accountability of service delivery NGOs’ from IDS. After completing her PhD, Sohela collaborated with IDS on the following projects. She was a member of the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment RPC based at the South Asia hub, researching feminist activism, women in local government, and the impact of external funding on women’s organizing. Sohela also served as the focal point in Bangladesh for the network on women’s unpaid care work (under the Gender, Power and Sexualities Programme).

Before coming to IDS, Sohela taught at the Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka (currently on extraordinary unpaid leave) and served as an Adjunct Fellow at the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University. At BIGD, BRAC University, she was the co-lead for the Sohela serves as the co-lead of the South Asia Regional Secretariat for Women Parliamentarians (SARSWAP) and she was involved in several research projects on violence against women, women in politics, and gender and political settlements. Sohela also led the curriculum design of the Master’s in Development Management and Practice (MDMP) offered by BRAC University. Sohela has worked as a consultant on gender and development issues for UNDP, FAO, Academy of Education Development (AED), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE-Bangladesh, OXFAM (GB).

Sohela is the co-editor of ‘Voicing Demands: Feminist Activism in Transitional Contexts’ (Zed Books: London, 2014). She guest edited a special issue on ‘Researching Women’s Empowerment’ for the Women’s Studies International Forum Journal (Vol 45) in 2014.

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Countering Backlash: Reclaiming Gender Justice

Global progress on gender equality is under threat. We are living in an age where major political and social shifts are resulting in new forces that are visibly pushing back to reverse the many gains made for women’s rights and to shrink civic space. This patriarchal backlash is escalating...



Journal Article

Introduction: Contentious Women’s Empowerment in South Asia

Questions of women's power remain a matter of heated debate globally, but take on a heightened intensity in a South Asia featuring rapid economic growth and structural transformation in recent decades. This Special Issue aims to improve understanding of how the women of South Asia are gaining...

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Sohela Nazneen & 2 others

28 November 2019

Sohela Nazneen’s recent work