Knowledge for a sustainable world

Development Programme:
Gender and Social Difference
The Gender and Social Difference (G&SD) programme conducts innovative and high-quality research and practice for demonstrable impact on equality and gender justice.


Inequalities are at the core of today's most complex problems and the challenge of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. Identity and factors of social difference, such as gender, age, ethnicity, location, class, and health status structure inequality among individuals and groups, in economic, spatial, political and cultural spheres. These dynamics determine opportunities of individuals, households and communities, including their access to and control of resources, ability to participate in decision making and governance structures, and ultimately, their wellbeing.

Gender inequality is particularly pervasive at a global level. Women are more likely than men to be hungry and live in poverty, and are disproportionally affected by economic and environmental shocks and violence. Women's labour is often unpaid and undervalued, and they are more likely to experience time poverty and mobility constraints.

Therefore, there is increasing recognition that gender equality in particular is integral to sustainable development. There are moral and ethical reasons for this, as a matter of human rights and realising the dignity and capabilities of individuals. It is also vital for sustainable development outcomes and redressing disproportionate economic, social and environmental shocks and stresses on women and girls that undermine their rights and vital roles in sustaining their families and communities. But most importantly, equality is necessary to strengthen women's agency and capabilities.


At NRI, we understand that inequality is a result of powerful social norms, stereotypes and power relations that influence attitudes and behaviour. Over the past three decades working with our Northern and Southern partners, we have extensive experience in development and empowerment pathways that focus on equitable processes and outcomes in development. These approaches place capabilities, dialogue and accountability at the centre of our work.


The goal of the Gender and Social Difference programme is to produce innovative and high-quality research and practice for demonstrable impact on reducing inequalities and achieving gender justice in sustainable development. The ultimate aim is to contribute to theory, policy and practice to benefit the lives of women, men, girls and boys, as a matter of human rights, gender justice and good development.


Dr Lora Forsythe
Dr Lora Forsythe
Associate Professor in Gender, Inequalities and Food Systems
+44 (0)1634 88 3067
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