Global Development Academy

The launch of Gender, Rights ANd Development (GRAND) Network - 25 April 2016

GRAND is a network dedicated to building (and continually expanding) an international network of feminists, gender theorists and development practitioners, and those who are interested in consolidating and advancing the conceptual understanding of gender in their respective work. It launches on the 25th of April, 2016, at Surgeons' Hall.

Despite important advancements in gender scholarship, and many years of concerted efforts to mainstream gender in development policies and programmes, significant gaps remain in achieving gender equity. Gender is either entirely omitted or treated as an 'add on' in many areas of international development and health.

These gaps can be attributed to several inter-related factors: conceptual ambiguities around gender mainstreaming and what it entails in practice; mistrust and antipathy of feminist inspired views and practices; the dominance of development paradigm which prioritise economic growth (and efficiency goals) over social development (and equity concerns), and most importantly, a disconnect between gender praxis and contemporary feminist theory. In the attempt to mainstream gender to a broad audience, feminist theories and theories of masculinity are frequently omitted resulting in a simplistic set of categories with insufficient linkages made between theoretical concepts and practical on-the-ground initiatives. Such disconnect has resulted in the use of biologically static male/female binary (or sex measures) as proxies for ‘gender’.

GRAND will enable those practitioners and researchers in the South and North who are interested in developing a more nuanced complex understanding and application of gender relations to work together, to share good practice and support and promote a strong integration of gender issues into international health and development. It will act as a space that will provide an impetus for feminist knowledge to cross barriers and move into mainstream socio-political, economic and development thinking, to influence public policy.

Aims of the GRAND Network

The aim of the network is to strengthen feminist scholarship and leadership across regional and disciplinary boundaries in order to contribute to a nuanced understanding of gender and its politics, and application in the diverse fields of health (including but not limiting to sexual and reproductive health), sexualities, governance and more broadly, development.

There are three inter-related objectives linked to an overall objective of developing a global platform for connecting people, organisations and networks, for sharing resources and building knowledge to inform theory and practice of gender:

  • Build theory and conceptual contributions – create space for discussions, facilitate joint learning on gender-related theories and concepts, identify emerging issues and persisting gaps, and offer critiques of existing theory from a gender perspective;
  • Accessible resource base - creating an interactive website through which to share information, especially pre-existing and new research/evidence and cutting-edge analysis on the gendered effects of current policies and institutional practices in social, economic, political and environmental activities;
  • Promote research with impact - facilitate researcher links to produce high quality collaborative research and disseminate new understandings of how research evidence can effectively influence policies and inform practice;


General membership of the network is open to anyone whose research, politics and practice is informed by an appreciation and understanding of gender.

Additionally, if you are based at a Southern institution and would like more active participation including hosting some events, please send a few lines about your work focus, an institutional logo for our forthcoming website to

Launch event