I completed my PhD in Development Economics from the University of Cambridge (UK), where I was the recipient of the Nehru-Cambridge and the British Chevening Scholarships. My PhD work received the Wrenbury Award. After completing my doctoral studies in 2001, I joined the Applied Economics Department at Cambridge as a Research Associate working on Gender and Rural Labour Markets and also did Consultancy work for three years. Currently, I an Associate Professor (Reader) in Gender and Development at the University of Liverpool Management School, where I also teach in this area. I am the co-director of India in the World Research Centre and coordinate the Development Research Initiative (DRIVE) - a Multidisciplinary Knowledge Platform at the Management School.
My research evaluates the interplay between gender and public policy with a focus on development outcomes and sustainability, especially in the Global South. A key component of UN's Sustainable Development Goals, this is a critical policy, impact and funding area, associated with improved outcomes for disadvantaged women. My approach to gender is grounded in intersectionality that is enabled by the use of novel interdisciplinary methodologies. My work recognises the embedded nature of social norms (like patriarchy) that structurally constrain women’s agency. I have successfully led projects examining the impact of credit markets, agricultural labour markets and seasonal migration on women’s livelihoods and well-being. In my recent work, I use a gendered lens to examine the global crisis of COVID-19 – especially how national leaders have managed the crisis and, in turn, how it has impacted on women’s work and well-being. My current projects examine the role of social ties on outcomes for women in the labour market; the gendered impact of menstrual health policies and digital exclusion (especially among young families).
Keen about the impact of my research on policy and practice, I have led several knowledge exchange projects. Noteworthy is the work with stakeholders of India's microfinance sector to enhance its impact on rural women's livelihoods (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/management/research/impact/microfinance-india/). I have also contributed to India's menstrual health policy by delineating a role for informed choice in improving the inclusivity and sustainability of menstrual interventions (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/management/research/impact/menstrual-hygiene/). My work has been funded by the British Academy, DFID, Nuffield Foundation, Newton Trust, and UKRI among others and has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals and also features periodically in media outlets both in India and the UK.