Picture of UNU-GEST fellowsThe  programme aims to enhance understanding of the structures and mechanisms that need to be in place to promote gender equality and advance women‘s empowerment  but is also intended to provide training that addresses how these mechanisms can be set up. The programme equips fellows with critical thinking skills and with the essential analytical tools for understanding gender equality issues and their impact on social development and public policy.

The learning approach is transnational with an emphasis on dialogue and diversity where fellows and trainers are encouraged to develop a sense of how meanings are transformed when travelling from one culture to another.

 The main objectives are to develop:

  • capacity of professionals and organisations who work in the field of advancing gender equality in developing, conflict and post-conflict societies and countries;
  • understanding of what are the main issues in gender equality studies and how they apply to different cultures and circumstances and are intersected by ethnicity, sexuality, religion, race and class;
  • skills in gender analysis and in dissemination of knowledge about gender equality methods;
  • the capacity to engage in critical and transnational dialogue on gender equality issues;
  • ability to organize and manage projects focusing on gender equality
  • a sense of their own localization and of how meanings of main concepts and practices are changed through transnational transfers and dialogues.

Teaching Modules

The course is divided into seven teaching modules, which vary between academic years. In 2020, fellows can select between two courses that are consecutively taught: Gender, Health and Education on the one hand and Gender, Labor and Migration on the other. Each module corresponds to five ECTS credits. The following modules will be offered spring term 2020:


Theories and Concepts of Gender

The purpose of this module is to introduce fellows to basic theories and concepts in gender studies. Special attention will be paid to how these issues play out in “developing” conflict and post-conflict societies. Gender equality and minority group issues are explored from a historical perspective and a human rights context. Women’s political participation and women’s involvement in decision making processes at all levels are explored, as well as the need for institutional reform and for transforming gendered traditions, values and symbolic systems. The role of civil society and gender equality advocates in women’s movements is also discussed.


Gender and Development: Tools and Strategies

This module is designed to prompt a discussion on the connections between gender and development, its theory, policy and practice. Students will explore the entanglements of gender (regimes) and various aspects of social change, and learn how to use a critical theoretical approach to analyze contemporary processes of development. They will increase their understanding of the different configurations of inequality and how they impact projects’ effectiveness and outcomes.

Fellows will select one of the two following modules:

Gender, Health and Education

The purpose of this module is to introduce fellows to literature and case studies on gender relations and norms, and resulting behaviours, which affect physical and mental health and bodily integrity.  The module will explore how gender differences and inequalities result in unequal health status and access to health care. The module will look at gender-based violence (GBV) within the framework of human rights and how unequal power relations contribute to GBV and the resulting physical, mental and economic consequences. A variety of strategies to address diverse health challenges will be introduced and discussed including a workshop introducing community mobilisation interventions through participatory appraisal methodology. Moreover, in this module different approaches to the question of how gender is learned and performed in educational institutions will be explored.


Gender, Labor and Migration

This module will introduce students to the concepts connected to various types of migration. Students will get a fuller view of migration as it intersects with labour and gender by looking at international agreements and treaties, national laws and policies, and local responses to migration. The module will also cover global economic imbalances that lead to migration, as well as migration due to conflict and environmental degradation. How migration differentially impacts men and women will also be discussed in the light of current theories, research, and agreements. Concepts and theories of comparative law will be discussed as they relate to migration, jurisdiction, gender, and labour. Finally, the course will cover immigration enforcement and its economic impact on migrant men and women.


Gender, Violence and Security

The aim of the course is to increase the fellows’ ability to understand, discuss, and convey knowledge of gender dimensions of security, especially with regard to international legal obligations, UNSC resolutions, security sector reform and emergency operations, but also in the context of sexual harassment and violence at the workplace, policies, and legal structures. It examines, among other things, the concept of human security versus national security and the role of women in conflicts, peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction, as well as gender-based violence and sexual violence, both as a tactic of warfare as well as a presence in the everyday lives of women and non-binary gendered people. National Action Plans will be of special focus.


Gender, Environment and Climate Change

The role of gender in unsustainable and sustainable development, natural resource management and resilience building is explored. The focus rests on gender and climate change as well as gender relations in fisheries, energy production and use, agriculture and land management, and the dynamics of environmental theories in practice. 


 Final assignment

Fellows work on an applied project of their choice throughout the duration of the programme under the supervision of experts.The purpose of the applied project is for fellows to reflect on some of the theories, methods and skills studied during the training course, to consider when these would be appropriate and their application in a practical context. The topic should be integrative, relate to the content of the program and should have relevance for gender equality issues in the fellows’ home country. The project is either in an essay form, addressing a specific gender relations problem and identifying strategies and suggestions to counter it, or in the form of a project proposal which outlines all the necessary steps and activities needed to solve a problem and implement a project. By the end of the semester, the fellows present the design and findings of their projects at an open seminar organized by GEST.