Sylvia Chant

Sylvia Chant is Professor of Development Geography at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, where she is Director of the MSc in Urbanisation and Development.

Sylvia’s research started in the early 1980s in Mexico, extending to Costa Rica in the late 1980s, to the Philippines in the 1990s, and The Gambia in the 2000s. Sylvia was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2011 on grounds of her ‘expertise and exploration of gender in geographical development’, and in 2015 was conferred as a member of the Academy of Social Sciences on account of being a ‘world-leading figure in international social science, helping to stake out the field of gender and development’.

Her principal interests lie in comparative policy-relevant research, and over three decades her enduring concerns have been in gender and development (broadly defined), including the ‘feminisation of poverty’, female employment and urban labour markets, rural-urban migration, housing, men and masculinities, and families and households (especially female-headed households).

Author of nearly twenty books, her latest titles include Gender, Generation and Poverty: Exploring the ‘Feminisation of Poverty’ in Africa, Asia and Latin America (Elgar,2007), Geographies of Development in the 21st Century: An Introduction to the Global South (with Cathy McIlwaine) (Elgar,2009), and (as editor and contributor) The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty: Concepts, Research, Policy (Elgar,2010) and Cities, Slums and Gender in the Global South: Towards a Feminised Urban Future (with Cathy McIlwaine) (Routledge, 2016).

Sylvia is on the editorial advisory board of a number of journals, including the International Development Planning Review, Journal of Migration Studies, Critical Perspectives on International Business, Graduate Journal of Social Science, Urban Forum, and The Global Urbanist.

She has also carried out advisory and consultancy work for several international development organisations, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, ECLAC, ILO, UN-DESA,  UNDP, UNICEF, and the World Bank, and was engaged with Professor Cathy McIlwaine in the preparation of UN-HABITAT’s State of Women in Cities 2012/13: Gender and the Prosperity of Cities.

Sylvia is currently a member of the Expert Advisory Group for UN Women’s Progress of the World’s Women 2018 which is on the theme of ‘Families in a Changing World’, and is completing a co-authored book for Zed entitled Bringing Youth into Development (with Gareth A Jones, Katherine Brickell and Sarah Thomas de Benitez). She is also continuing as Series editor of Elgar Handbooks on Gender. Between 2013 and 2015, Sylvia served as Adlerbertska Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Sylvia’s ‘extra-curricular’ activities revolve around her passionate interests in language, travel, photography, design, cinema, reading novels, exercise and dancing!



Copyright © Sylvia Chant