Institute for Gender and Development Studies



Dr. Deborah McFee has worked in the area of gender and development since 1998. She holds a BA in History and Political Science from The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, and an MA in the Politics of Alternative Development from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague.  Deborah graduated in 2019 with her PhD in Global Governance and Human Security from  the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, University of Massachusetts (Boston).  Her PhD research earned her the 2019 Excellence in PhD Research Prize awarded by the UMass Boston, Department of Global Governance and Human Security.  Deborah’s experience includes research on the impact of small arms and light weapons on women and girls in select communities in her country of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as traditional gender norms as drivers of emerging human security vulnerabilities experienced in small island developing states in the Caribbean.  She has extensive experience in both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, however, her research strength lies in qualitative research methods.  She is knowledgeable in utilizing participatory, gender sensitive, qualitative approaches to data collection as a means of engaging in a more inclusive approaches to establishing public policy priorities.   From 2005 to present, Deborah has worked throughout the English speaking Caribbean developing national policies for gender equity and equality. 

“Alternative development challenges you to engage in policy making premised on creating access.  Particularly, creating access with people who traditionally don’t have a voice in the development process.”



Courses taught

  • GEND 6103, 7102, 8102 
    Gender Analysis for Development Policy and Planning
  • GEND 3039 / SOCI 3039 
    Gender and Development with Reference to Caribbean Society
  • SALI 6012 
    Research Methods in the Social Sciences

Graduate Supervision completed

  • MSc, Ms Karen Hull-La Coa
  • MSc, Tricia Basdeo




Areas of Specialization
  • gender and development
  • gender and global governance
  • women, gender and trade
  • women, gender and human security
  • public policy development
  • gender sensitive capacity building for organizational and institutional strengthening
Research projects
  • PhD Research, Gender Specialization - Global Governance and Human Security - Global Governance and the Post-Colonial Nation State: Women, Gender and Public Policy in Trinidad & Tobago 1956-2005 (2014-2019)
  • Member Research Team FAO funded “Sustainable Management of Bycatch in Latin America and Caribbean Trawl Fisheries (REBYC-II LAC) Trawl Bycatch Value Chain Study in Trinidad (2018-2019)
  • Member Research Team, UWI RDI funded project - Work Life Balance and Ageing in Trinidad (2015-2018)
  • Guest Editor- Caribbean Review of Gender Studies (CRGS)- Co-editor with Prof Michelle Rowley, Caribbean Review of Gender Studies (CRGS) Issue11 - Tool or Weapon? The Politics of Policy Making, Gender Justice and Social Change in the Caribbean (2015-2017)
  • IGDS Water Vacation Camp - Gender Water and Community, Gendered Challenges around access to Water in the Matelot Community (2012)
  • Researcher attached to the Office of the Prosecutor, The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Arusha, Tanzania (2011)
  • Research Team Member: UNDP funded Project to produce a baseline Survey to Enhance Public Trust Security and Inclusion Programme for the Republic of Guyana. Primary data collection conducted in ten (10) vulnerable communities throughout Guyana (2009) 
  • Qualitative research on Women’s experiences and understanding of crime, human security and violence in Trinidad & Tobago (Report prepared for United Nations Children Fund TT Office)
  • Preparation of Draft Policy Guidelines: Gender, Human Rights and Sex Work in the Caribbean (2009)



IGDS and Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Programme (FACRP) project funded by the Commonwealth Foundation Gender and Climate Change Policy Initiative

Oversight of IGDS Short courses (Semester III)

  • Master Course on Judith Butler 
  • Gender Feminism, Religion and Contemporary Questions, 
  • Women Gender and Law, 
  • Gender and Human Resources Management

National Workshop for Strengthening Gender Equality in Counterdrug Law Enforcement Agencies (April 2019 Port of Spain).

Rethinking Globalness: Women and Public Policy in Trinidad. (May 2019 UMass Boston)

Winner of the Atlantic LNG CEO’s Sustainability Award 2011 in the category of Corporate Social Responsibility. A proposal developed for the Children’s Water Vacation Camp Project 2011

IGDS Oversight CEDAW South to South Institute July 25th – August 2nd 2019.  The IGDS partnered with the CEDAW Committee of Trinidad & Tobago (CCoTT) and the Women’s Human Rights Institute (WHRI) headquartered in Toronto.


September 2018 -May 2019

Main Facilitator and Coordinator -National Public Sector-based Gender Focal Point Capacity Training Workshops with the Gender Affairs Division- Office of the Prime Minister, Port of Spain Trinidad. 

Project entitled Gender, Culture and Peace in the Classroom. Output - 26 students 14-16 years old trained in gender sensitive, non-violent means of conflict resolution April 09.

IGDS Coordination and oversight of Kalamazoo College Exchange


Media Commentary






Peer Reviewed essays 
  • Rowley, Michelle V. and Deborah McFee. 2017. “Tool or Weapon? The Politics of Policy Making, Gender Justice and Social Change in the Caribbean.” Caribbean Review of Gender Studies issue 11: 1–14
  • McFee, Deborah. 2017. “Women/Gender and Development in Trinidad and Tobago and Post-genocide Rwanda: Complicating Human Security, Carving out a National Gender Policy Response for Rape as a Crime Against Humanity.” Caribbean Review of Gender Studies issue 11: 83–110
  • Parpart, Jane and Deborah McFee. 2017. “Rethinking Gender Mainstreaming in Development Policy and Practise.” Caribbean Review of Gender Studies issue 11: 241–252
  • Reddock Rhoda, McFee Deborah and Radix Kathy. The Information Society. Jan, Vol. 24, Issue 1. Review of Encyclopedia of Gender & Information Technology by Eileen M Trauth
Book chapters (published)
  • McFee, D. (2017). Narratives, the State and National Gender Policies in the Anglophone Caribbean: Dominica and Trinidad & Tobago. In G. J. Hosein, & J. Parpart, Negotiating Gender, Policy and Politics in the Caribbean: Feminist Strategies, Masculinist Resistance and Transformational Possibilities (pp. 109-130). London: Rowman & Littlefield
  • McFee, S. & McFee, D. (2020). Work Life Balance Case Study Abigail Llongwe - Trying to Connect the Dots: Work. Life and Medical Career. In P. Mohammed, Connecting the Dots. Work.Life.Balance.Ageing. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers
  • McFee, D & Cozier, R. (2020). Work Life Balance and Ageing, Law, Policy and Practice. In P. Mohammed, Connecting the Dots. Work.Life.Balance.Ageing. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers
Select Research Papers for Governments and Other Technical Reports
  • A Pilot Study on the Role of Women in Communities – The Case of East Port of Spain pp68 (Report prepared by Ms. Folade Mutota, Ms. Deborah McFee and Dr Dianne Williams), December 2017
  • A National Strategic Plan on Gender Based and Sexual Violence in Trinidad & Tobago. Prepared for the Government of Trinidad & Tobago by Lebrechtta Nana Oye Hesse-Bayne, Taresa Best-Downes and Deborah McFee-Cook pp 116, Dec 2016
  • Women’s Conversations: Making Our Voices Heard – Researching the Lives of    Women in Trinidad pp70 (Paper prepared in collaboration with Folade Mutota) April 2016
  • National Policy for Gender Equity and Equality and Plan of Action for the British Virgin Islands by Prof Patricia Mohammed, Ms. Deborah McFee, Prof Jane Parpart and Gaietry Parpart pp 118. April 2012
  • Water Education Manual designed for the Children’s Water Vacation Camp: Instructor and Facilitator Manual and Resource Pack.  Manual developed based on the 2010 Water for Life Camp and coming out of project related community-based research by Ms Keizel Kydd, Dr Fredericka Deare and Deborah McFee pp 159 
  • Technical Report prepared for UNICEF on the Research Project conducted by the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD) “Empowering Women and Girls to Prevent and Address the Impact of Small Arms and Light Weapons” in 10 Communities of Trinidad and Tobago, Nov 2008 pp 54
  • Technical Report prepared for Caribbean Association for Feminists Research and Action (CAFRA) Regional on Gender, Trade and Labour in the English-Speaking Caribbean, April 2009, pp 39
  • Draft Policy Guidelines on Gender, Human Rights and Sex Work in the Caribbean submitted to UNIFEM March 09 (Paper prepared in collaboration with Tracie Rogers and Althea Alexis – Windsor) pp 42
  • Gender Training and Awareness Manual for the Government of the British Virgin Islands as part of the process of developing a National Policy for Gender Equity and Equality, May 2012 pp 39




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