Good research can lead to positive change for the world’s poorest by enhancing the design and implementation of development policies and programs. That’s why Australia is committed to an innovative research portfolio and funds research, including through:
- competitive funding mechanisms such as the Australian Development Research Awards
- research partnerships with different Australian, international and developing country research institutions
- commissioning research to address a specific question or clearly defined research gap, and
- one-off research grants, when an existing program of research is relevant to the Australian aid program.
More information on how Australian aid funds research
As part of our research program, we fund research into gender-related aspects of development, such as women’s economic empowerment, women’s leadership, women’s peace and security and violence against women.
mWomen Research Striving and Surviving: Exploring the lives of women at the base of the pyramid
Young women using a mobile phone in New Delhi, India. Photo: Department of Foreign Affiars and Trade.
Research shows that women are 21 per cent less likely than men to own a mobile phone in low-to-middle income countries, representing 300 million fewer women than men.
A wide range of social and economic benefits can be delivered by extending mobile phone ownership to women. Mobile phones can provide women living in remote and rural areas with access to bank accounts and formal credit. In Pakistan, text messages have been used to deliver basic literacy and numeracy classes to students, as well as to deliver critical information on health and nutrition to young women. In India, text messaging has been used to provide agricultural workers with up-to-date information on commodity prices at each market, enabling them to determine where and when to go to get the best prices for their produce.
The GSMA mWomen program is a global public-private partnership between the worldwide mobile phone industry and the international development community, using the power of the private sector to accelerate mobile services for the unconnected and to provide services to women living in the developing world via the mobile platform.
A key aim of the mWomen Program is to devise ways to expand mobile access to poor women in order to increase their ability to benefit from digital innovations that could be used for new financial products, or access to health and education services.
The mWomen program conducted research that considered how mobile phones can be used to meet women’s wants and needs around healthcare, education, financial inclusion and income generation. The research, entitled Striving and Surviving: Exploring the lives of women at the base of the pyramid [external link] surveys the wants, needs, aspirations and mobile uses of women living at the base of the pyramid (BoP), which are those living on under US$2 a day.
Integrating gender and reproductive health issues in the Indonesian national school curricula: Challenges for Moslem societies
School girls in Indonesia. Photo: Josh Estey / Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Despite strong policies on gender equality and mainstreaming in Indonesia, development does not yield equal benefits for women and men. The incidence of violence against women and sexual harassment remain high and gender gaps in education and wages persist.
The formal education system provides an opportunity to promote gender equality and reproductive health issues.
This research, funded through an Australian Development Research Award, explores how to encourage local authorities to adopt national values about respect and equal rights for women in Moslem school curricula in Indonesian.
The first phase of the research evaluated primary and secondary school curricula and school books to explore depictions of gender and whether information on reproductive health was included. Phase two of the research involved a survey of school students to ascertain their level of understanding of gender issues and reproductive health as well as in-depth interviews with policy makers, program implementers, school teachers, parents and NGO activists on these issues.
The research has produced two conference papers and a number of policy briefs to facilitate discussion with the Indonesian Government about ways to ensure school curricula are gender sensitive.
Solomon Islands Family Health and Safety Study: A study on violence against women and children
Sending a message – Solomon Islands women preparing for the annual International Women's Day march in Honiara. Photo: Josh Estey / Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
This report of the Solomon Islands Family Health and Safety Study analyses data and reports on findings of the first nationally representative study on violence against women and children.
This national survey was carried out by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in partnership with the Government of Solomon Islands, with funding from Australia and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Using this evidence base, the Government of Solomon Islands has adopted a National Policy on Eliminating Violence Against Women and action plan to address violence against women.
The results of the study are also informing legal reform of the Penal Code, which is being undertaken by the Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission.