Gender equality is critical for economic growth. Equally, the structure of the labor market and the welfare state have implications for gender equality. Research on this theme aims to unpack the complex dynamics between gender equality, economy and empowerment both within Ireland and across other countries in the context of globalization and the early 21st century economic crises. It also addresses issues of sustainable livelihoods across the global North and South, which are integrally linked to ownership and control of assets, and particularly that of land. Universal inequity in the distribution of assets between men and women hinders women’s ability to participate as producers, consumers and distributors within the rural economy. Research in this theme aims to establish the extent of women’s asset ownership and the impacts of that ownership on women’s empowerment.
Violence and health are deeply gendered issues impacting on women and girls, as well as men and boys throughout the world. Violence can be expressed in many forms, from intimate partner violence and sexual violence to collective and organised violence. All forms, however, demonstrate unequal impacts according to gender. Understanding its impacts, and the means to mitigate, reduce and eliminate VAWG is a major global challenge. Research within this theme aims to: understand the interlinkages between gender, violence and health; broaden the methodological horizon for understanding the implications of violence for individuals, communities and states; and advocate for the resources required to adequately address violence and health from a gender perspective.
Tensions between gender equality and religion are well-documented. Women’s movements have generally resolved these tensions through an alignment with “secularism” within a progressive, liberal worldview, where religion is tolerated as a “private” matter. Increasingly, however, this narrative is in contention. Through processes of globalization and migration religion has re-emerged as a significant social, cultural, and political force in public and private life in increasingly multicultural societies. At the same time, academic debate on the role of religion(s) vis-à-vis the state, the public sphere, and civil society, and whether or not we are entering a “post-secular” age, have proliferated. These developments pose challenges for how we frame and seek to realize gender equality and women’s rights in multicultural societies in ways that respect difference and diversity. Research carried out under this theme aims to deepen knowledge of these developments and to address the political, sociological, and human rights challenges that they present.
Research in this area examines the gender dimensions of armed conflict, peace and security with a focus on the role of the United Nations and the UN Security Council. This includes (re)consideration of the role of gender norms and identities in shaping meaning and practice in the nexus of conflict, peace and security. Work in this area aims to critically reassess the relationship of women’s and feminist movements with the UN Security Council and other UN forums. It is also concerned with examining the limiting role of developments in relevant domains of international law, which set the parameters of discourse and practice in relation to armed conflict and women’s positioning therein. Particular attention is paid to the evolution of the ‘women, peace and security’ agenda (WPS) of the UN Security Council and the challenges is poses for contemporary forms of feminist peace activism.