Exploring the role of religion in gendered-development policy and practice

Elledge, Nora Khalaf. 2019. Exploring the role of religion in gendered-development policy and practice. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

Situated within post-colonial development critique and post-structural feminist theory, this PhD thesis explores the under-examined intersection of gender and religion in international development, focusing specifically on the gender analysis phase of bilateral donor projects. The research draws on qualitative evidence from an in-depth document analysis of development reporting and semi-structured interviews with managerial gender personnel and religion advisors from six large Western government aid agencies, eight of their recipient organisations, and nine local women’s rights activists across different recipient countries. The findings suggest the need for an internal gender analysis that deconstructs complex power dynamics surrounding gendered issues related to religion, rather than a reliance on external religious partnerships which cater to development’s preference of efficiency and political expedience but have gender regressive effects and perpetuate the notion of religion as a separate category. This thesis seeks to make three main academic contributions. First, it introduces a change in theorising the religion-gender nexus by situating it within the internal gender dimension of development rather than its external management of religious partnerships. Second, by inverting the conceptualisation of the nexus and by moving it away from a religion-in-the-field approach, this thesis shows that the nexus and the power structures it preserves are a global social construct rather than a unique feature of communities in developing countries. Third, it deconstructs binary developed vs. developing countries narratives and instead considers development issues on a continuous spectrum, while acknowledging that practitioners are part of the processes they study and dictate the power paradigms within which meaning is produced.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Additional Information:

Awaiting non-encrypted file of thesis for upload. Upload will be subject to an embargo of 36-months from 31st July 2019.


Development, religion, gender, faith, NGO, FBO

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Faiths and Civil Society


31 July 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

22 Nov 2019 11:58

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:15



Edit Record Edit Record (login required)