Gender and Development Studies – A small project, Women in Development was initiated in the Human Settlements Development Division at AIT in the late 1980s. This grew into the Gender and Development Studies unit in 1991, with financial support from CIDA, NORAD, the Dutch Development Cooperation and the Japanese Government.
Gender and Development Studies (GDS) is a center for graduate studies, research and outreach in the School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD) at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand that aims to work as a regional center of excellence in the field of gender and development studies, and to integrate gender as a key intellectual perspective and ethical concern in AIT as well. Within the overall gender specific framework, GDS highlights both the need for specialized academic degree awarding studies in gender and development, and the integration of gender analysis and a gender relations perspectives in AIT’s other fields of study.
GDS has spent substantial efforts over the years to streamline their teaching and research on a core of very essential gender issues. This core rests on the pillars of gender theories and methodologies, gender equity and equality issues, human rights, political and economic empowerment in the context of rapid globalization and climate change. GDS offers graduate level courses and provides substantial input to student’s Masters and PhD dissertation research. During the period of 1999 – 2013, over 300 Masters and PhD students graduated with a degree of Gender and Development Studies. These graduates are from Asia, Europe, America and Africa. Short courses and workshops are also offered on gender planning and gender analysis in various development fields. In short, a significant degree of gender mainstreaming by GDS had been achieved through its teaching, research and outreach programs.