Empowerment of Women and Girls

Where we work

How we work

As our research develops, we update the site with the latest information so that you can follow progress and interact with research in action.

The IssuesThe Research ProcessPolicy Findings
We explain the key issues and direct you to the most relevant information on each themeWe keep you up-to-date on our research activities and the evidence we collect from themWe share the research results as they begin to emerge and when they are finalised

Emerging findings from an IDS-led project on Balancing unpaid care work and paid work, part of the global Growth and Equal Opportunities for Women programme (GrOW), has thrown fresh insights into women’s “double-burden” – the responsibility assigned to them of being primarily responsible for care in their home and the need to earn income. 

Case studies provide a ground-level view of the physical, emotional and mental toll on individual women’s lives resulting from long hours spent on back-breaking unpaid household chores, such as collecting and carrying firewood, caring for children or the sick and elderly, and (often manual) paid work such as stone-breaking.

As part of the uptake for this research, the Alliance for Right to Early Childhood Development in India have created two comic strips exploring the Importance of women's work and recognition for womens unpaid work. In Hindi, with translations in English.

In response to the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and Oxfam organised a call for evidence on what works for positive change in the care economy. Information from the call has been collated and synthesised into a position paper that was presented to Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, member of the UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, as part of her consultation exercise prior to the HLP meeting in July 2016, and is now available to download.

As part of the call for evidence on care, IDRC, IDS and Oxfam also convened two webinars to discuss the scale of the challenge, what progress has been made, and to ask why has it stalled. View them online here: session 1 from June 7th and session 2 from June 8th, 2016.

Drawing from the experiences of an organisation who works with mental health carers, this briefing highlights the importance of widening the global mental health agenda to include local carers’ voices, greater government investment in mental health with social protection schemes for carers, flexible paid employment arrangements, and innovative mental health care actions.

What makes it possible for male survivors of conflict-related sexual violence to organise and become activists, challenging discriminatory social and gender norms? This question is addressed in a new study from IDS, the Refugee Law Project and Men of Hope Refugee Association Uganda which also looks at the the role of third-party service providers and non-governmental organisations.

The Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 14 to 24 March 2016. IDS is co-organising two parallel events: one on sustainable women’s economic empowerment, drawing on research from the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women programme, and the other on intersectional inequality and power. Interactions will be there to cover both of them.

IDS has published a new Bulletin which contributes to understanding of how ideas around empowerment have evolved and how we can move forward to expand women's opportunities and choices and realise women's empowerment in a meaningful way. The editors reflect on the interconnectedness of the economic, social and political components of empowerment and highlight significant gaps in policy and programming. 

A new policy briefing from IDS calls for decision-makers to take a broader approach to address the social, structural and economic determinants of health, and to ensure community involvement in interventions with genuine gender inclusivity. The paper is based on six case studies and a thematic review examining women’s and girls’ access to health in low-income urban settlements.