1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Shahra Razavi

Former Research Coordinator

Shahra Razavi was Research Co-ordinator at UNRISD from 1993 to 2013. She left UNRISD to join UN Women as Chief, Research and Data, at the end of June 2013.
Shahra specializes in the gender dimensions of social development, with a particular focus on livelihoods and social policies. She began her collaboration with UNRISD in February 1993, when she joined the Institute to work on a new research initiative to explore the gender dimensions of economic policy. She led the Institute’s subsequent research projects on gender, including Gender, Poverty and Well-Being; Agrarian Change, Gender and Land Rights; Globalization, Export-Oriented Employment for Women and Social Policy; and work on Gender Justice, Development and Rights which was carried out as part of the Institute's contribution to the Beijing Plus 5 Review Process (2000). She coordinated the preparation of the UNRISD flagship report, Gender Equality: Striving for Justice in an Unequal World (2005). Her most recent research projects have been on The Political and Social Economy of Care, and Religion, Politics and Gender Equality.

Prior to joining UNRISD, Shahra was working on her D.Phil. Thesis at St.Antony's College (Oxford University). Her thesis explored the gender dimensions of agricultural commercialization in southeastern Iran, where she carried out field research in 1988. She obtained her D.Phil. in December 1992.

Shahra is currently serving on the editorial boards Journal of Peasant Studies, Global Social Policy, and Development in Practice. She is also a member of Scientific Committee of Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP); the International Advisory Committee of the Social Protection Programme, Women in Informal Economy Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO); and International Member of Selection Committee, King Baudouin Foundation.


Selected recent publications:

Journal Articles
  • “Underpaid and Overworked: A Cross-national Perspective on Care Workers” (with Silke Staab), International Labour Review, Vol. 149, No.4, December 2010
  • “The Unhappy Marriage of Religion and Politics: Problems and Pitfalls for Gender Equality” (with Anne Jenichen), Third World Quarterly, Vol. 31, No.6, November 2010
  • “Revisiting Progress on ‘Social Integration’: Some Change and Much that Remains the Same”, Global Social Policy Forum, Vol.9, No.1, pp. 9-13, 2009
  • “Engendering the Political Economy of Agrarian Change”, Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol.36, No.1, pp.197-227, January 2009
  • “From global economic crisis to the ‘other crisis’”, Development, Vol.52, No.3, 2009
  • “The return to social policy and the persistent neglect of unpaid care”, Development and Change, Volume 38, No.3
  • “Liberalization and the debates on women’s access to land”, Third World Quarterly, Special Issue on Market--Led Agrarian Reform: Critical Reflections, 28(8), 2007
  • “Does paid work enhance women’s access to welfare? Evidence from selected industrializing countries”, Social Politics, Volume 14, No.1, Spring 2007
  • "’New frontiers of social policy’? and the silences of the ‘Arusha Statement’”, Global Social Policy, 6(3), 2006
  • “Islamic Politics, Human Rights and Women’s Claims for Equality in Iran”, Third World Quarterly, 27(7), October 2006
  • “’Beijing Plus Ten’: An Ambivalent Record on Gender Justice”, (with Maxine Molyneux) Development and Change, Vol. 36, No. 6, 2005
  • “Agrarian Change, Gender and Land Rights”, Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol. 3, Nos.1/2, 2003
  • “Women in Contemporary Democratizaiton”, International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, Vol.15, No.1, 2001
  • “Seeing Poverty Through a Gender Lens”, International Social Science Journal, No. 162, 1999
  • “Labour-intensive Growth, Poverty and Gender: Contested Accounts”, Development and Change, Vol. 30, No. 3, 1999
  • “Fitting Gender into Development Institutions”, World Development, Vol. 25, No.7, 1997
  • “Excess Female Mortality: An Indicator of Gender Subordination?”, Notizie di Politeia, Vol. 12, Nos. 43/44, 1996
  • “Freedom as a Dimension of Well-being: Some Observations on the Functionings-based Approach” (with Alessandro Balestrino), Notizie di Politeia, Vol. 10, No. 36, 1994
  • “Agrarian Change and Gender Relations in South-East Iran”, Development and Change, Vol. 25, No. 3, 1994
  • “Agrarian Change in Two Regions of Kerman”, Iran, Vol. 29, 1991

Edited Volumes
  • Underpaid and Overworked: A Cross-national Perspective on Care Workers (co-edited with Silke Staab), Special Issue of International Labour Review, Vol. 149, No.4, December 2010
  • The Unhappy Marriage of Religion and Politics: Problems and Pitfalls for Gender Equality, (co-edited with Anne Jenichen), Special Issue of Third World Quarterly, Vol. 31, No.6, November 2010
  • The Gendered Impacts of Liberalization: Towards ‘Embedded Liberalism’? Routledge/UNRISD, 2009
  • Gender and Social Policy in a Global Context: Uncovering the Gendered Structure of “The Social” (co-edited with Shireen Hassim), Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2006
  • Globalization, Export-Oriented Employment and Social Policy: Gendered Connections (co-edited with Ruth Pearson and Caroline Danloy), Palgrave, Houndmills, 2004
  • Agrarian Change, Gender and Land Rights, Special Issue of Journal of Agrarian Change, Blackwell, Oxford, 2003
  • Gender Justice, Development and Rights, (co-edited with Maxine Molyneux), Oxford Series on Democratization, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002
  • Shifting Burdens: Gender and Agrarian Change under Neoliberalism, Kumarian Press, Bloomfield, 2002
  • Gendered Poverty and Well-being, Special Issue of Development and Change, Blackwells, Oxford, 2000
  • Missionaries and Mandarins: Feminists and Development Organizations, (with Carol Miller), ITU Press, London, 1998

UNRISD Papers
  • The Political and Social Economy of Care in a Development Context: Conceptual issues, research questions and policy options, GD PP, No. 3, June 2007
  • Gender Justice, Development and Rights (with Maxine Molyneux), PP DGHR 10, 2003
  • Women in Contemporary Democratization, OPG 4, 2000
  • Gendered Poverty and Social Change: An Issues Paper, DP 94, 1998
  • Gender Mainstreaming: A Study of Efforts by the UNDP, the World Bank and the ILO to Institutionalise Gender Issues (with C. Miller), OPB 4, 1995. From WID to GAD: Conceptual Shifts in the Women and Development Discourse (with C. Miller), OPB 1, 1995

Other Papers
  • “The return of social policy and the persistent neglect of unpaid care”, in Bauhardt, Christine and Caglar, Gülay (eds.), Gender and Economics. Feministische Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2009
  • “Liberalization and the Debates on Women’s Access to Land.” In Saturnino M Borras, Cristobal Kay and Edward Lahiff (eds.) Market-Led Agrarian Reform: Critical Perspectives on Neoliberal Land Policies and the Rural Poor, Routledge, London and New York, 2008
  • “Islamic Politics, Human Rights and Women’s Claims for Equality in Iran.” In Andrea Cornwall and Maxine Molyneux (eds.) The Politics of Rights: Dilemmas for Feminist Praxis. Routledge, London and New York, 2008
  • “Maternalist Politics in Norway and the Islamic Republic of Iran.” In Naila Kabeer and Agneta Stark with Edda Magnus (eds.) Global Perspectives in Gender Equality: Reversing the Gaze. Routledge, New York and London, 2008
  • “El Trabajo remunerado mejora el acceso de las mujeres a las prestaciones socials? Evidencias de paises en proceso de industrialización.” In Gisela Zarember (ed.), Politicas Sociales y Genero, Tomo II Los Problemas Sociales y Metodologicos, FLACSO, Mexico, 2007
  • “Agrarian Change, Gender and Land Rights”, in Legal Empowerment: A Way out of Poverty, Mona Elizabeth Brother and Jon-Andreas Solberg (eds.), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, June 2006, Issue No.1
  • ‘From Rags to Riches: Looking at Poverty from a Gender Perspective’, IDS Bulletin, Vol.28, No.3, July 1997
  • ‘Women, Work and Power in the Rafsanjan Basin of Iran’, Women in the Middle East, in Afshar, H. (ed.), Macmillan, 1994
  • ‘Fieldwork in a Familiar Setting: The Role of Politics at the National, Community and Household Levels’, in Fieldwork in Developing Countries, Hoddinot, J. and S. Devereux (eds.), Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992
  • ‘Iran: Agriculture and the Contemporary Rural Community’, in Internal Migration in Iran, McLachlan, K.S. and F. Ershad (eds.), SOAS Occasional Paper No.5, 1989
  • 'Gender, Poverty and Inequality: The Role of Markets, States and Households.' with S. Staab, in S. Chant (ed.), The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty: Concepts, Research, Policy, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2010