Think Tank


    We believe gender analysis is key to understanding the complexities of the modern world and producing meaningful social change. Our cutting-edge research sheds light on matters of crime, sexuality, violence, media, employment relations, entrepreneurship, technology and social innovation.

    Our work as a gender think tank is inspired by intersectional gender research.


    Gender & Social Entrepreneurship

    Gender norms influence the division of labour and responsibilities, shaping the ways women, men and people of all genders are recruited, access power or are promoted. During the last decade, an ever-increasing number of women have turned to social entrepreneurship and community businesses. While social enterprises seem to have generated leadership niches for women, gender-based discrimination, sexism and stereotyping are by no means absent in this field.

    What we investigate:

    1. What challenges do women social entrepreneurs face as leaders, co-founders or members of women-led teams?
    2. Why are more women getting successfully involved in social enterprises and community businesses than in other types of businesses or start-up processes?
    3. What gendered narratives, identities and practices exist across social enterprises, and how can they be challenged?
    4. How can we use this knowledge to promote women’s economic empowerment in other fields?

    Our findings and recommendations can help policy makers, investors, start-up incubators and accelerators identify strategies to support women social entrepreneurs and make social enterprises more inclusive and gender-aware. This research project is conducted in collaboration with the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation and the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. For this project, our CEO Dr Lilia Giugni and her co-investigator Prof. Pam Burnard have been awarded the University of Cambridge 2017-2018 AISS & AHSS Research Group Grant.


    Education Can End Abuse

    Comprehensive sex and relationship education is increasingly regarded as crucial to counteracting gender-based violence. Yet successfully delivering educational tools on the themes of gender, informed consent and every form of violence, often eludes policy-makers.

    What we investigate:

    1. How do current provisions for sex and relationship education teaching address the questions of consent?
    2. What innovative tools for a gender-aware sex education exist beyond schools and universities?
    3. How can a greater understanding of consent, encompassing the intersections between gender, race, class, disability and sexual orientation, help to challenge abusive behaviours?
    4. What policy solutions and educational practices can be exported across organisations at the local, national and supra-national level?

    Developing high quality, gender-sensitive consent education is a challenge not only for schools and universities, but also for many institutions across the public, private and third sector committed to provide their staff with adequate training. GenPol can provide a clear framework upon which to base educational guidelines, and help identify and disseminate effective practical resources for different institutional audiences.


    And What About The Men?

    Fostering collaborations between women and men towards a more gender equal world

    It is important to acknowledge that we live in an unequal society, and that women experience sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination disproportionately more often than men. However, it is equally crucial to understand how men are also affected by existing structures of inequality. Fostering collaborations between people of all genders is key to the success of gender equality initiatives.

    At GenPol, we believe in enabling positive conversations between women and men, conveying the message that the current state of things harms us all, and that men have also to gain from a more gender equal world.

    Our research questions:

    1. How do multiple pressures to conform to stereotyped standards of masculinity affect men and boys’ mental health, including their behaviour in the workplace?
    2. How can we best engage boys and men in gender equality work, ultimately helping them and their organisations to thrive?
    3. What are the best practices in terms of male-led and/or men-targeting gender equality initiatives? And what are the main obstacles that undermine them?
    4. How can reflections on gender norms, and especially men’s role in gender equality work, affect policy decisions in areas such as education and violence prevention?

    Appreciating how gender norms and stereotypes affect men’s life and mental health is a key challenge to decision-makers, researchers, educators and other stakeholders across all economic and social sectors. GenPol can help shedding light on these dynamics, and offer effective policy solutions and practical recommendations.


    Gender & Organised Crime

    The culture of organised crime is highly gendered. Hierarchical family roles, gender stereotypes and a dominant notion of masculinity critically shape the recruitment of young men into mafia-like organisations and their socialisation into violence.

    Our research questions:

    1. What’s the impact of gendered behaviours and practices on the identity of organised crime affiliates?
    2. How do gender norms, roles and stereotypes inform criminal activities such as trafficking?
    3. Do anti-mafia fighters in the media, public and third sector challenge or reinforce criminal organisations’ gendered culture?
    4. How can educators and policy-makers promote healthier notions of gender relations and masculinity in mafia-affected areas?

    Incorporating gender concerns in the fight against organised crime is crucial to policy makers, law enforcement agencies, educators and anti-mafia organisations alike. GenPol’s programme help understand criminal activities through a gender lens, and identify gender-aware policy solutions.


    Our research programmes combine qualitative and quantitative insights. Our tailored research methods, and team of multilingual researchers, allow us to collect and analyse robust and insightful data at multiple levels and in multiple countries.

    Our research-based services include:

    • Tailored policy recommendations (reports, audits, guidelines, expert advice, commissioned research)
    • Workshops and facilitation meetings
    • Training, Conferences, Mentoring

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    If you would like to find out more about the services we offer, we warmly invite you to get in touch. We are not advertising for vacancies at the moment. Please note that we may not able to respond to unsolicited applications.

    Contact Info

    Gender & Policy Insights (10783588)
    Registered address: 11 Peterhouse Mews
    High Street Chesterton
    CB4 1UW Cambridge
    United Kingdom

    GenPol is also a registered Italian charity (1269/3)
    GenPol e' un'associazione culturale registrata
    Registered address: via Schipa 91
    80122 Naples