Gender and Power

This Concept Brief discusses the links between gender and power. It is designed for those who are new to these ideas and it addresses three main questions: What is power and how can a gender perspective help us understand it? What is gender and how can a power perspective help us understand it? What policy and operational messages follow from a focus on gender and power?

'Gender' is one of the most persistent causes, consequences and manifestations of power relations. Understanding gender can therefore significantly enhance our understanding of power and vice versa.

Yet donors have largely neglected 'gender' in their efforts to understand power relations in partner countries. In particular they are often blind to how power and politics in the 'private' sphere shape power relations at all levels of society; how gender hierarchies mark wider economic, political and social structures and institutions; and the opportunities for peace and prosperity emanating from feminized sources of power. By addressing these blind spots, a focus on gender can significantly enhance donors' insights into power dynamics and their ability to 'think and work politically' overall.

At the same time, focusing on power can improve donor support to gender equality by pointing to the need for more politically-informed approaches. This would involve, among other things, developing a deeper understanding of the local context, engaging a wider range of powerful actors, providing better support for women's mobilization and taking a closer look at gendered power relations within donor organizations themselves.

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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News

'How Change Happens': Birmingham seminar with Duncan Green

Monday 9th January 2017

What works in achieving progressive change? How do power and systems shape change, and how can you influence them? Join Oxfam's Duncan Green on Thursday 19 January to discuss the themes of his new book 'How Change Happens'. The presentation will be followed by a drinks reception and book signing.

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Islands of integrity: funding award for DLP corruption research

Friday 2nd December 2016

DLP research on how to effectively fight corruption has won funding from the British Academy's Sustainable Development Programme, part of the UK government's Global Challenges Research Fund.

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