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Katalin Zsiga is a PhD student in the Department of International Development. She completed a MSc in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and holds a BA Honours in Applied Psychology and Sociology from the University of Brighton.

Her MSc dissertation looked at cultural double standards around particular aspects of masculinity in contemporary West. She also received the Tony Gale Prize from the British Psychological Society for her undergraduate dissertation on heterosexual women’s negotiation of their lack of sexual pleasure – a study on which her current research is based.

With over 13 years of management experience in the education sector, within various settings around the world, Katalin has broad experience in charity programme management and worked with disadvantaged communities in Africa, China, Cambodia, and Indonesia.


Thesis title: 'Sexual health of young women and development work in Peru: sex education, patriarchy and the politics of female sexual pleasure'

Katalin is interested in investigating the structures, processes and cultural elements that influence women’s perceptions of their own sexuality, in particular, in relation to pleasure. This project maintains that sexuality is essential to people’s wellbeing, as well as for societal development. Therefore, it should be central to imagining development.

The double standard where men’s sexuality and pleasure are legitimated and prioritised in day-to-day interactions in our economy, culture and politics, and women’s sexual pleasure is obscured at best and suppressed at worst, is harmful to the aim of gender equality and development more broadly.

Understanding the constraints to women’s right to sexual pleasure and their own strategies of seeking such pleasure in contexts where their needs are delegitimised through powerful normative frameworks, will provide new angles on understanding persistent sexual violence and highlight the need for empowerment beyond economic access and political voice.

This research aims to change perceptions upon strategies to improve sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, and women’s empowerment in the broad field of development studies. It focuses on young women’s experiences in Peru, a middle-income country with high inequality and a large population that lives on or just above the poverty line. 

PhD supervision

Further details

See Katalin's research profile