Gender and Empowerment in Participatory Research

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In recent decades, participatory research has become more diversified in terms of the types of approaches and applications in the development arena. Feminist and gender studies continue to interrogate the complex and often contested dimensions of participatory research by focusing on the power relations that comprise different aspects of the research process. This workshop draws from feminist perspectives on participatory research, addressing sustainable community development, gender and other inequality, rapid rural appraisal, and specific techniques and goals of these methods.

Participatory research grew out of development approaches that challenge conventional, top-down, and modernist development projects and research. Participatory approaches focus on perspectives that are grounded in community-based knowledge, shifting locations of power, transformation, and shared outcomes in the research process. Feminist research examines gender inequalities that are manifest in the cultural norms, economic status, and political institutions of the field.

This workshop explores dynamic and critical research that contributes to both participatory and feminist approaches in diverse geographical contexts. Topics that will be addressed in the workshop include techniques and thematic issues such as natural resource access, mobility patterns, household dynamics, sustainable development, and gender-based violence. Participants are asked to bring their own ideas about and experiences using participatory research to the workshop. We will engage in activities and focused discussions about how to effective apply feminist participatory methods in our research.