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Sohela Nazneen - Research Fellow

Gender and Sexuality; Governance
T: +44 (0)1273 915609


Amy Cowlard

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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.

The next World Social Science Report due to be published in 2016 will focus on the critical contemporary issues of inequalities and justice.

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A new partnership between the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and IDS has been formed with the aim of supporting SDC’s ‘Democratisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance Network’ (DLGN) between 2012 and 2014. IDS’ contribution will seek to improve DLGN’s effectiveness and impact of policy strategies and operations.

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The aim of this third phase of cooperation between IDS and SDC is to share learning and collaborate on policy engagement in priority areas of decentralised and democratic local governance.

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Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

At a time of major changes in global politics and trends, and major shifts in international development following the establishment of the global Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030, the Gender and Sexuality cluster at the Institute of Development Studies engaged in collaborative discussions and consultations over nine months with partner organisations, networks, external experts and policymakers. More details


Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

We here aim to outline priority directions for future research on gender and sexuality in development, which are needed to advance our understanding of gender and sexuality in an increasingly unequal, polarised and volatile world. More details

A fresh agenda for advancing women’s rights and gender equality

07 Mar 2017
By Sohela Nazneen, Cathérine Müller