Elena Zambelli, Research Officer for the Governance research cluster at IDS

Elena Zambelli - Research Officer

E: e.zambelli@ids.ac.uk



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Elena is a Research Officer at IDS and has over 10 years’ work experience in Gender and Development, which combine a development practitioner profile with teaching and training experiences, and participation in gender justice social movements. With a background in Political Science, she recently completed a PhD in Gender Studies. Her research interests include gender, sexualities, intersectionality, transnational social movements, migration and refugeehood.

Elena built her Gender and Development expertise by working in different capacities for NGOs, GOs, UN organizations, and higher education institutions, and in particular in/on the MENA region. She worked on programs and policies promoting women’s empowerment in the social, political and economic spheres, including by contributing to initiatives aiming to eradicate violence against women and more broadly, gender-based violence.

Her academic background includes a PhD in Gender Studies (SOAS), a MA in Gender and Development (University of Sussex), and a BA in Political Science (University of Bologna). Her PhD dissertation (2016) addressed the relationship between morality, embodiment and work in contemporary Western countries, which she discussed through the lenses of sexuality and sex work.

In recent years she has also been doing research on issues of youth socio-economic inclusion and exclusion in the MENA region, and previously, for her BA, she worked on the tension between gender and nation in the context of Palestinian women’s participation in the struggle for national liberation from Israeli occupation.

The 'Balancing unpaid care work and paid work: successes, challenges and lessons for women's economic empowerment programmes and policies' project aims to create knowledge about how women's economic empowerment (WEE) policy and programming can generate paid work that empowers women and provides more support for their unpaid care work responsibilities.

More details


No Time to Rest: Women’s Lived Experiences of Balancing Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work

Synthesis Report (2017)

This report provides evidence on the lived experiences of women in low-income families, as they strive to balance their paid work and unpaid care work responsibilities. It presents the findings of a mixed-methods research project carried out in India, Nepal, Rwanda, and Tanzania during 2015–17. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Making Women Development Fund More Care-Responsive

This note discusses the main findings of research into the care-sensitivity of the Women Development Fund. The fund was established by the Government of Tanzania in 1992 to support the economic empowerment of women, and especially rural women. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Oxfam’s Food Security for Tanzania Farmers Programme: Guidelines for Achieving the Double Boon

This note discusses the main findings of the research into the care-sensitivity of the Oxfam Food Security for Tanzania Farmers programme (2012–15). More details

IDS publications on international development research

'My Mother Does a Lot of Work': Women Balancing Paid and Unpaid Care Work in Tanzania

This report presents the findings of research into women's economic empowerment programmes conducted in Tanzania as part of the ‘Balancing unpaid care work and paid work' project. More details

Wp495 Cover

‘How Can It Be a Problem If You Need Them Both?’ Women Juggling Paid and Unpaid Care Work in Tanzania

IDS Working Paper 495 (2017)

This paper summarises the findings of mixed-methods research that was carried out in Tanzania as part of the ‘Balancing Unpaid Care Work and Paid Work: Successes, Challenges and Lessons for Women’s Economic Empowerment Programmes and Policies’ research project (2015–17). It reflects the voices and experiences of women and their household members participating in women’s economic empowerment (WEE) programmes across four sites in the rural districts of Korogwe and Lushoto in Tanga region. More details

Geographic Expertise:
Middle East and North Africa.