Gender & Social Equality Programme

SEI Gender and Social Equality Programme

NEW: Understanding gender and food security interactions in the Sustainable Development Goals
A women's self-help group in Timor-Leste. UN Women Asia and the Pacific / FlickrAn SEI analysis identifies key ways in which gender inequality could undermine the global fight against hunger, as well as opportunities to advance both food security and gender equity goals together.

GUIDANCE: Mainstreaming gender considerations into modelling-based studies of water & energy systems


This programme aims to deepen SEI’s engagement with issues of gender and social equality in the context of development, foster collaborations, and strengthen our capacity in this field.

There are vital interconnections between gender, social equity, environment and development. Environmental change can affect different social groups in different ways: women and men, rich and poor, specific ethnic and age groups, people in developed and developing countries.

Patterns of development and economic growth that neglect the needs of specific groups of people can exacerbate disparities, stratifying people into losers and winners, worsening living conditions and creating unjust outcomes. A deliberate focus on gender and social equality in development can help achieve more inclusive benefits, and enhance human and environmental well-being.

SEI has long engaged with these issues in its research, but often not in a focused, sustained and explicit manner. This programme aims to enhance SEI’s capacity to engage in research and policy with a view to transforming gender, social and power relations to ensure more equitable outcomes.

Our starting point is that unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, amplified by disparate distribution of decision-making power, are putting enormous pressure on natural resources and also worsening poverty and inequality, with particularly serious impacts on people who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods and survival.

The Programme’s core objective is to address knowledge and policy gaps related to gender and social equality in order to inform and advance sustainable development policy. Our work packages and activities focus on three main tasks:

1. Mainstreaming gender and social equality issues within SEI’s projects, themes, initiatives and operations, including model-based policy analysis, to strengthen SEI’s internal capacity for gender- and equity-sensitive research for policy wherever possible;

2. Providing opportunities for new research projects with a gender and social equality lens; and

3. Consolidating findings and insights in order to communicate them to relevant stakeholders, boundary partners and change agents to enable solutions for empowerment and transformative governance.

SEI GSE Programme graphicThe structure of the Programme. Click to enlarge.

The Programme’s three functions are closely integrated. New research projects will inform and in turn reflect the approaches and procedures developed for mainstreaming gender and social equality in SEI research and methods. Communications and knowledge-sharing will be built into all activities, to foster dialogue within SEI and with our boundary partners, and to ensure that our work reaches and is relevant to policy-makers and other stakeholders.

The three new research projects being funded in Phase 1 focus on the role of social factors and gender in small and mid-size businesses’ sustainability agendas; the gender pay gap in Estonia’s agriculture and forestry sectors; and the development of gender-based indicators to track progress on food security.


Download a 2-page overview of the Programme (PDF, 839kb)

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