Women make up almost 75% of agricultural workers in India and produce 80% of the nation’s food, and these numbers are increasing. However, women do not have the same call on resources as men, even in rural areas where male outmigration is occurring, despite international evidence that suggests that increased empowerment of women brings positive development benefits for the population as a whole. Most governments in the developing world are aware of this phenomenon and have made commitments to raise the status of women. But measuring how women’s empowerment changes over time and in response to different initiatives is difficult and there are serious gaps in the established techniques.
This project will use and refine frameworks drawn from economics to develop and test ways of measuring empowerment. The project will also involve cases and applications across north-east India to help agencies drive better policies. The project will be sequenced with other Australian-sponsored activities targeting small-holder farmers. This will allow the project to inform those activities first-hand and provide the setting to explore with different measurement applications.
This project will place you within a team of researchers working on agriculture for development topics within UniSA’s Centre for Markets, Values and Inclusion. Our team works across disciplines including economics, gender studies, management and agricultural systems. You will also benefit from direct engagement with research teams based on site in north-east India. This is a dynamic and engaged research teams comprised of senior and junior researchers working for a range of international CGIAR institutions including the International Food Policy Research Institute IFPRI and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre CIMMYT.
This is a career-launching opportunity to work on a project of international significance and a chance to contribute directly into policy circles. You will also benefit from exposure to the work of the Crawford Fund, one of the active movements for bringing together early career professionals with an intertest agriculture for development.
What you’ll do
In this research degree project, you will develop conceptual models, primarily using ideas drawn from New Institutional Economics (NIE) literature. Following that, you will develop a survey framework for measuring women’s empowerment and test the survey instrument in different settings. A simultaneous data collection using the newly-developed instrument and the WEAI approach will then be used so that you can empirically explore the relationship between the two measures.
You will have the opportunity to undertake field work in north-east India, most likely in rural West Bengal, if travel permitted. This will be supported by the International Food Policy Research Institute IFPRI Delhi office where you will intern for three months. The internship will be a combination of physical visitation and virtual engagement.
Guided by the end-use supervisor, you will deploy the surveys in regions where different policy levers have been applied. Survey data will provide you with avenues to publish information about both the measurement of and improvements in women’s empowerment. This will be a combination of traditional and more accessible outlets that influence policy makers.
This project will provide you with skills in critical thinking, research design, methodological expertise, data analysis and synthesis, and communication. Importantly, you will also develop sensitivities in both culture and gender dimensions.
The project will be circumscribed by a range of other policy-related activities in the East Gangetic Plain. Accordingly, you will have the opportunity to present your work to key government decision-makers and help shape a discussion around future support and research that can progress the mission of ACIAR and the Australian government generally.
It is expected that this project will generate a suite of outputs that will be presented for review at national and international conferences. These include the Australasian Agricultural and Research Society (AARES) annual meeting and equivalent events in the US and Europe. You will enjoy support to present at the AARES event annually and attend at least one international conference during candidature (if travel permitted).
This is an exceptional research project which will position you well for a range of posts in either research or government and make a tangible difference to many people’s lives.
Where you’ll be based
You will be based in the Centre for Markets, Values and Inclusion which combines specialist skills and multidisciplinary perspectives to provide a trans-disciplinary approach to delivering meaningful research, which informs innovative, evidence-based solutions for a more inclusive and sustainable future.
Operating locally, nationally and internationally, our researchers provide evidence to inform public and private sector choices and policies, resolve global development, and governance issues in populations experiencing inequity and develop incentives for business and non-for-profits to develop, monitor and report on socially responsible enterprises.
This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $28,854 per annum is available to eligible applicants. A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information for domestic students or international students.
Eligibility and Selection
This project is open to application from both domestic and international applicants.
Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:
- A demonstrated capacity to develop conceptual models drawn from New Institutional Economics
- An understanding of gender constraints and their economic implications.
Applicants who are also able to demonstrate the following will be highly regarded:
- An appreciate of the challenges of undertaking research in a development setting.
All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.
The successful applicant is expected to study full-time, and to be based at our City West campus in the heart of Adelaide.
Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available.
Applications close: 23 January 2022