Launch of the World Social Science Report 2016: Challenging Inequalities – Pathways to a Just World

The World Social Science Report 2016: Challenging Inequalities – Pathways to a Just World will be launched on Thursday, 22 September 2016, at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden. The event is hosted by the Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences (SSEESS). Can’t attend? Watch the launch live online

Never before has inequality been so high on the agenda of policy makers worldwide, or such a hot topic for social science research. Governments worldwide have committed to take action on inequality through the Sustainable Development Goals, around the universal aim to ‘leave no-one behind’. Today, more journal articles are published on the topic of inequality and social justice than ever before.

The World Social Science Report 2016 highlights the latest social science knowledge on the state of inequalities today, and examines the effects of inequalities across multiple dimensions including gender, environment, access to knowledge, wealth and political power. Looking to the future, the Report asks what scenarios may develop from current levels of inequality, and highlights transformative responses to inequality at all levels, from the grassroots to global governance.

The Report challenges the social sciences to develop more innovative combinations of research to better understand why and how inequalities persist. It also points to inequalities in the production of social science knowledge itself – over 80% of academic publications on inequality in the past twenty years are by researchers based in North America and Europe – and calls for strengthened research on inequality from around the world, especially in those countries at the lower ends of the inequality scales.

The Report comprises contributions from 107 authors, originating from 41 countries worldwide, including voices that have gone unheard in recent debates about inequality, such as in low-income countries where inequality remains highly divisive but data scarce. The Report concludes with a clarion call to the research community to step up to the global challenges presented by inequality, and presents a framework for integrated, global research that can make a difference.

The World Social Science Report 2016 is prepared by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) in collaboration with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), and co-published with UNESCO. The launch is generously hosted by the Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences (SSEESS), which is an Associate Member of ISSC.

The launch will feature presentations from some of the Report’s directors and authors, and will include time for inclusive, open discussion.  Register here.

Draft programme

9.30 Registration (refreshments available)

10.00 – 11.10 Presentation of the World Social Science Report 2016, with speakers including:

Dendev Badarch, Director - Division of Social Transformations and Intercultural Dialogue, Social and Human Sciences Sector, UNESCO
Charlotte Petri Gornitzka
, Director-General, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
Mathieu Denis, Executive Director, International Social Science Council
Melissa Leach
, Report Co-director; and Director, Institute of Development Studies (IDS, Sussex University)
Naila Kabeer
, Report Author; and Professor of Gender and Development, London School of Economics (LSE) Gender Institute
Bo Rothstein, Report Author; and Professor of Government and Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

11.10 – 11.30 Questions and discussion with the audience.

11.30 – 12.30 Mingle with buffet lunch

A media room will be available for interviews with speakers.

About the World Social Science Report

The ISSC produces the World Social Science Report every three years, as part of its strategic partnership with UNESCO. The Reports address important social science challenges, take stock of social science contributions and capacities, and make recommendations for future research, practice and policy.

The 2016 Report is made possible through generous support from funders including Sida, the Swedish Research Council and the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

About ISSC

The International Social Science Council (ISSC), a membership-based non-governmental organization, is the primary global body representing the social sciences, including economic and behavioural sciences. Its mission is to strengthen social science to help solve global priority problems. Through its members and programmes, the ISSC reaches hundreds of thousands of individual social scientists working across a wide range of disciplines and representing all parts of the world.


The Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences (SSEESS) is a collaborative partnership between the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, FORTE, Formas, Vetenskapsrådet, and Sida. On behalf of the members of SSEESS Partnership, the Secretariat acts as a Swedish link to Global Environmental Change Research. SSEESS aims to increase Sweden’s involvement in international research programmes, thereby improving Swedish and international Global Environmental Change (GEC) research.


For queries about the event or location:
Kim von Hackwitz, SSEESS

For media or other queries about the Report:
Lizzie Sayer, ISSC