Ideas + Outputs

Since 2016, our team has undertaken gender data projects across the Sustainable Development Goals and in all major world regions. Don’t see the SDG you care about listed here? Send us a note to chat about collaborating.

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Thanks to Jake Nelson for this graphic!


Our researchers are also research communicators. Here are a few of our favourite data-driven outputs.

Family Oriented Cash Transfers from a Gender Perspective: Are Conditionalities Really Justified? UN Women Policy Brief.

A decade of feminist research has raised serious questions about the assumptions that underpin the use of conditionalities and their impact on poor women’s lives. While seemingly ignored by policymakers and donors, such critiques have not disappeared. To the contrary, with the multiplication of in-depth qualitative studies, evidence has mounted that imposing conditions can be cumbersome and punitive. Read it here.


Counting gender (in)equality? a feminist geographical critique of the ‘gender data revolution’. Gender, Place & Culture.

Is a measurement obsession what’s behind the Gender Data Revolution? And is there room for a more substantive, and critical, engagement with data driven development? This position paper draws on empirical research and theories of change from feminist geography and development studies to lay out an approach to gender data collection and use that situates women’s everyday lives at the centre.


For Equality, Women Need Power. The Star.

Is lack of data really all that’s holding women and girls back? Persistent levels of gender-based violence and ongoing inequality in politics suggests that progress requires something additional: the sharing of power–and political will. Read more here.


Menstruation in Crisis. BRIGHT Magazine.

There is a significant data gap in our understanding of the specific kinds of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) challenges women and girls face in humanitarian contexts. While menstruation is a biological function, the stigma and embarrassment surrounding it are not. Read more here.


Want to Promote Gender Equality? BRIGHT Magazine.

There’s a lot of experimental research showing that cash with conditions effectively generates demand for health and education services. But women’s actual experiences of meeting conditionalities show that we’re collecting the wrong data. Read more here.


Social Protection Systems and Access to Public Services in the Age of Conditionality. Expert Paper for CSW63.

In preparation for the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, UN Women convened an Expert Group Meeting on the priority theme: “Social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality.” This paper synthesizes global evidence on conditionality, and discusses the policy responses required to advance women’s rights. Read it online here.


Unjust Conditions: Women’s Work and the Hidden Cost of Cash Transfer Programs. University of California Press.

“Cookson’s book is a most welcome contribution to our understanding of the social relations in cash transfer programs. This book has important lessons for policymakers and scholars alike and joins the debates over how to improve program design and implementation.”—Maxine Molyneux,  author, The Social and Political Potential of Cash Transfers

Read it online here.


The Impact of Periods. Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Why should we change social norms around menstruation? And what impact could this have on how international development and global health is funded, practiced, and experienced? This opinion editorial, co-authored with NGO Days for Girls,  shows why supporting menstrual health is critical to women’s empowerment around the world. Read it here.


Women Migrant Workers in the ASEAN Economic Community. UN Women.

Based on mixed-methods research across Southeast Asia, this report shows that women’s economic empowerment depends on more more than access to work. Access to social protection, child care services, and women’s organizations are critical to promoting and strengthening women’s rights in the context of labour migration.  Read the full report and recommendations here.


Digital Technology for Health Sector Governance in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Journal of Global Health.

Mobile phones and other information and  communication technologies (ICTs) increasingly promote bottom-up  “good governance” of services. But do they make services more equitable? This study reviews ICT use cases from across the globe, from a project in Peru mobilizing support for survivors of sexual and reproductive health violence, to the use of electronic cash registers in Kenya to improve transparency. Read it here.


Why Legislation is Not Enough. Plan International.

There have been many advances in institutional and legal frameworks to protect women and girls’ rights, and break the silence and impunity around gender-based violence. This brief analyzes whether the frameworks can transform deeply rooted inequalities. It highlights recommendations and best practices made by women’s and girls’ rights groups to target institutional and cultural drivers of violence. Read it here.


The Unseen Gender Impact of Conditionality. IPC-IG.

Conditional cash transfers are among the most evaluated social programs on the planet. But few evaluations analyze program implementation from a gender perspective. This brief discusses “shadow conditions,” explains how these arise, and how they can be prevented to improve gender equitable outcomes. Read it in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.