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

Doing Development Differently workshop - Jakarta 2017

Thursday 30th March 2017

Putting the concept of Thinking and Working Politically into practice was at the heart of a workshop on 15-16 March attended by more than 200 delegates from the field of international development. Delegates from the government, civil service and local organisations of the host country, Indonesia, were joined by academics, including DLP researchers, and staff from donor organisations and NGOs.

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DLP shares research at FCO Africa Study Day

Monday 27th March 2017

DLP findings on the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the topics discussed with with UK diplomats and civil servants at the FCO's Africa Study Day, held at Sandhurst on 21 March. This year's Foreign and Commonwealth Office event was organised by University of Birmingham's International Development Department, home to DLP.

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