Keya Khandaker

Keya Khandaker


I studied BA International Development at the University of Sussex (2014-2017), in which my undergraduate dissertation explored youth-led accountability towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This research drew from my involvement as a youth advocate with various International NGOs. At the Institute of Development Studies (at the University of Sussex) (2017-2018), I completed a degree in MA Gender and Development (2017-2018). My dissertation research focused on the #UnfairandLovely hashtag movement as an anti-racist, feminist counterpublic to subvert and resist global beauty norms.

In 2018, I became a recipient of the 1+3 ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership Collaborative Studentship award to study a PhD at the University of Leeds within the School of Politics and International Studies. As part of the award, I completed MA Social Research (Interdisciplinary) at the University of Leeds (2018-2019) prior to the PhD.

The PhD is conducted in collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute’s GAGE (Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence) programme. My research interrogates norms that are valued or erased in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with reference to gender norm change and adolescent agency. In particular, I seek to explore the implications of positioning young people as ‘agents of change’ within the SDG agenda’s framing of ‘Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment’. The research is based on the reflections and experiences of young people in both the UK and Bangladesh.

Research interests

  • Youth in Development
  • Gender and Queer Studies
  • Gender and Climate Change Studies
  • Gender and Conflict Studies
  • Race and Racism
  • Contesting Neoliberalism in Development
  • Decolonising Development


  • MA Social Research (Interdisciplinary), Distinction - University of Leeds (2019)
  • MA Gender and Development, Distinction - Institute of Development Studies (2018)
  • BA International Development, First Class Hons. - University of Sussex (2017)