The Bigger Picture: Gender and Politics in Practice

This context paper explores how the findings of Gender and Politics in Practice research on development programming relate to broader processes of social, political and economic change. It argues that institutions – or rules of the game – are important in shaping gender relations, but more attention needs to be given to power and agency.

The agency of local people – their capacity to act – is crucial. Local people often have the legitimacy and local connections to exploit ‘cracks’ in social norms in ways that outsiders do not. They can frame gender issues in politically informed ways based on their knowledge, relationships and understanding of the risks involved. Promoting transformational change in gender relations takes time, commitment and courage.

Aid programs are never the primary agents of change, but they can contribute to gender reform in a number of ways. They can support inclusive local leadership, bring political and gender analysis together, plan for uncertainty and learn through adaptation. Other strategic avenues for promoting gender equality include supporting tertiary education for women and girls, creating opportunities for dialogue among citizens pursuing common agendas, or helping influential women to extend their networks and access to resources.

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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New studies on leadership for transformational change in Africa

Thursday 31st May 2018

A new series of studies asks what factors support or hinder leadership for transformational change in Africa. They are published in collaboration with the UONGOZI Institute.

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New article on politically informed work for climate change mitigation in China and India

Monday 21st May 2018

In Development Policy Review, Tom Harrison and Genia Kostka draw on their DLP research project to explore 'Bureaucratic manoeuvres and the local politics of climate change mitigation in China and India'.

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