Putting gender centre stage

IIED's mission is to build a fairer, more sustainable world using evidence, action and influence in partnership with others. But without gender equality and gender equity, there can be no social justice or sustainable development.

Ethiopian women sort coffee beans at a long table. Gender equality and equity are vital components of sustainable development (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Gender equality and gender equity are fundamental to achieving IIED's mission. But they are not just prerequisites to the issues we work on, they are also essential to our ways of working. 

We are an institute that believes in collaboration, impact and fairness – inside our institute as well as in the wider world. 

Our research and action aims to put people first in the environmental agenda. We want to empower the world's poorest and most vulnerable people to improve their own livelihoods while respecting environmental limits. 

By definition that must include a transformative approach to gender – one that critically examines gender roles, relations and dynamics; and transforms the underlying social structures, policies and norms that perpetuate inequalities and imbalances between and among women and men. 

At the same time, we want a fair and inclusive workplace that is truly gender equal. That requires us to first acknowledge that our approach to gender equality and equity is shaped by our individual and collective knowledge, behaviours, values, practices and societal norms; and then routinely to assess our policies, principles and practices, changing them where needed.

Our vision

Our vision is to secure equal opportunities and equitable outcomes for all staff and partners – regardless of ability, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or background – to enable us to support fairer, more inclusive sustainable development.  

That means putting gender equality and equity at the heart of what we do and how we do it.

We produced a gender manifesto, in 2016, that has two key goals: 

  1. To build a diverse and fulfilled workforce that thrives in its career, family and personal life, and
  2. To produce high-quality research that shapes gender equality and equity for sustainable development.

Our efforts since then have ‘looked out’ through project design, training and support to build gender equality into research design, and ‘looked in’ to IIED itself to develop practices and policies in support of gender equality. These include:

In 2019 we will move from a manifesto to an institutional gender policy, formalising our commitment to gender equity and equality in our research and in IIED itself.

Throughout our five-year strategy, IIED’s Gender Equality Champions’ Network will push forward on integrating and enhancing gender equality activities across the organisation, and a peer support group of researchers will work with their colleagues, sharing learning, skills and experience.

Our programme of work – 'Gender equality, voice and power' – will focus on embedding the aims of Sustainable Development Goal 5 and gender aspects of other SDGs in our research, showing greater ambition to challenge the status quo across all sectors.