International Development Planning Review

From gender planning to gender transformation: positionality, theory and practice in cities of the global South

International Development Planning Review (2021), 43, (2), 205–229.


This article reflects on my contribution as an urban feminist scholar-gender expert practitioner to Gender and Development (GAD) theory and practice in cities of the South in relation to my changing positionality within specific institutional contexts. My journey started in the 1980s with urban gender planning, conceptualised in the Development Planning Unit, a United Kingdom-based urban planning unit. After a ‘diversionary’ decade in the World Bank, experiencing GAD non-alignment between individual and institutional positionality, my journey continued as a Ford Foundation external advisor, developing an operational approach to urban gender transformation. As I moved across the feminist scholar-gender expert divide, contextualised within changing GAD debates, I highlight and critique differences and similarities between ‘political’ and ‘technical/instrumental’ knowledge production of gender practice, and conclude that it is the cyclical synergies between them has produced the significant changes in GAD theory and practice.

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Author details

Moser, Caroline O. N.