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Gender, Think-Tanks and International Affairs: a Toolkit

The Gender, Think-Tanks and International Affairs Toolkit has been jointly developed and published by BASIC, Chatham House and the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy. The toolkit provides a practical starting point for organisations who want to interrogate the role of gender within their structures. 

The Toolkit has been the product of several years of convening and research. This began with a series of Gender, Think Tanks and International Affairs breakfast meetings in 2017, originally kickstarted on the BASIC side by Co-Director Sebastian Brixey-Williams, before being taken up by Co-Director Marion Messmer for the majority of the process. These meetings were designed to encourage a more gender-sensitive approach across all areas of think-tank activities, including convening and debate, research and analysis, and communications and publishing.

The Toolkit distills the lessons of these meetings, as well as a great deal of desk-based, collaborative research. The output provides think-tanks with a guidance on ways of adapting organizational structures, activities and practices in order to embed a greater awareness of gender issues and adopt gender-sensitive approaches in all areas of their work. The toolkit can be used in parts or as a whole. If you have further questions about this work, please get in touch with Marion Messmer ([email protected]).

The work to develop the toolkit came as a response to the commonly gendered nature of think-tanks and their activities. The toolkit recognizes the discrimination and under-representation that women often experience within the sector, as well as the relative absence of women among executive leadership, governance structures and senior researcher positions in many think-tanks. It is important to note that the toolkit’s focus on gender is a starting point for wider intersectional analysis and action within the think-tank community. 


  • Marion Messmer, Co-Director, BASIC
  • Marissa Conway, Director, Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy
  • Laura Dunkley, Chatham House


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