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

Drawing on evidence from our 126 short case studies, we produced four videos re-telling the stories of real women’s experiences trying to balance the demands of the family and the home with the need to earn an income. In these films, their stories have been adapted into a script, anonymised and narrated by an actor. The photos are from the region where the women are from, but not of the women or their families, themselves.

Each country experience is different, and the women also have different family set ups, but there are recurring themes throughout, around the long-hours work, the back-breaking drudgery and nature of the work, the paucity or absence of support and help. 

Our first two video stories from India and Rwanda are now live, compiling aspects of women's daily work into compelling visuals and first-person narratives.

The new global synthesis report 'No Time to Rest' is now launched. It finds that national and local level women’s economic empowerment initiatives in developing countries are failing to capture the full physical, emotional and economic costs to women of balancing paid work with unpaid care duties.  It warns that unless the backbreaking drudgery of water carrying, fuel collection, cooking and caring is urgently addressed future global progress on women’s rights and gender equality could stall.
 

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.