Influencing Policies to Support the Empowerment of Women and Girls

start date

5 March 2012

end date

4 December 2017

The research programme ‘Influencing Policies to Support the Empowerment of Women and Girls’ was a collaborative programme with a number of leading research partners across the globe, led by IDS. The project ran for a four-year period from 2012-2016.

The main aim of the research was to examine how to build an enabling environment for the empowerment of women and girls. Specifically, the research was split into three main areas:

Gender-based violence

Examining how collective action, involving women and men in social movements and coalitions is able to effectively address gender-based violence. In particular it examined the involvement of men and boys in working on issues to do with gender-based violence. Our study countries included Egypt, India, Kenya, Sierra Leone and South Africa.

Urbanisation and health

Understanding the effects of urbanisation and urban environments on the health of women and girls in low-income settings. Examining issues of non-communicable diseases, mental health, sanitation, sex work, infrastructure and HIV. Study countries included South Africa.

Unpaid care

Analysing the conditions under which policy actors recognise or ignore the significance of unpaid care work. Study countries included Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda.

Amongst the expected outcomes was greater recognition amongst policy-makers of the importance of unpaid care work and of interventions which build a better environment for women and girls’ urban health care. The programme also be expected to challenge current attitudes to gender based violence.

IDS has long played a prominent part in promoting policies to support the empowerment of women and girls. The Institute is home to BRIDGE, a gender research and communications programme aimed at providing accessible and diverse information to bridge the gaps between theory, policy and practice. IDS also led the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment research consortium, with partners in South Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Researchers from right across IDS focus on gender issues and contributed to this programme.

Interactions website: Empowerment of Women and Girls

The Interactions website provides real-time research on the empowerment of women and girls. Categorised into three main themes (gender-based violence, urbanisation and health, and unpaid care work), this website provides access to a wealth of resources in connection with this programme. Content includes key issues guides, policy findings, country profiles, case studies, researcher profiles, photo stories and blogs.


Recent work


Connecting Unpaid and Paid Care Work to Progress Gender Equality

IDS Policy Briefing 130

Globally, paid care work, such as care for children or the elderly is a fast-growing sector of the market economy. Yet, it remains undervalued by governments and citizens in both monetary and societal terms which has damaging implications for women’s economic empowerment and gender relations...

6 March 2017


The revolutionary demand of a global transformation based on joy

The AWID forum became a huge tribute to diversity, in a celebration that shows how humans can live in equity, stimulating and enhancing the different things that each person brings to the whole.

1 December 2016