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Women’s Work: Is Age a Development Issue?

14/12/2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

Watch a recording of the event here.

Does ambition stop as you age? Do you need fewer social and employment rights as you grow older? Less pay? Fewer days off? Is it reasonable to expect older women (in particular) to provide free labour such as childcare?

According to a report by Age International, 40% of women aged 65 and older in sub-Saharan Africa work. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, older women provided at least four hours of unpaid labour every day. They are assumed to be the recipients of care, when the reality is that they are more likely to be caregivers. As Age International notes, this makes it easier for their contributions to be overlooked. Given that we all age, why is there such widespread tolerance across cultures of the assumption that older people, particularly women, merit few rights the older we get?

Join us on 14 December. Together, we will explore whether women’s age is a development issue. We will hear from Shobhini Mukerji Executive Director of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)’s South Asia regional centre. This is a hybrid event and there will be time for discussion, moderated by Dr Penny Vera-Sanso of Birkbeck University’s Geography Department.

About the Speakers:

As CEO of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)’s largest office, Shobhini Mukerji works closely with policymakers, civil society partners, and research institutions to promote collaborations to increase the use of evidence in policymaking and scale-up social programs in India and the South Asia. She is a passionate advocate for the use of evidence and data in decision-making, and advises multilaterals and donors on effective spending on policy interventions that have the potential to bring transformational change in the lives of people living in poverty.

Shobhini has co-authored a series of large scale randomised evaluations on foundational literacy interventions in India and in parts of Africa, reaching over 60 million children. She sits is on the Executive Board of CARE India, focusing on empowerment of women and girls through programs in health, education, livelihoods and disaster preparedness. She is on the Advisory Committee of Community Jameel, supporting advances in science to help communities thrive, and she serves on a number expert committees.

Dr Ezi Beedie is co-ordinator of Brilliant Parents and is a Director at ‘Beyond Mentors’ Community Care Initiatives (BMCCI) and is Co-founder and Vice President of its advocacy arm, Women’s Community in Africa (WCA).  Ezi also  sits on the Board of the Africa Polling Institute (API). She is a seasoned Educator and Development professional with a multidisciplinary background. Her experience spans social policy, education, ageing, gender, advocacy and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). She has over twenty years research experience in evaluation, education, social policy, social protection, and development coupled with three decades of teaching, capacity building, facilitation, project management, gender mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation, advocacy and consultancy  in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.



About the Moderator:

Dr Penny Vera-Sanso lectures in Development Studies and is Director of the Masters course in International Development and Social Anthropology at Birkbeck University, which she joined in 2001. Her wide experience includes lecturing Social Anthropology at the University of Canterbury and Anthropology at Goldsmiths College . Alongside her academic career, Penny has founded two housing co-operatives in north London.

Penny was Principal Investigator of Ageing, Poverty and Neoliberalism in Urban South India, 2007-10, an international, multidisciplinary project, and Principal Investigator, Ageing and Poverty: the Working Lives of Older People in India, 2012-13, an international, multi-disciplinary project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.


Photo credits: Featured photo is by Vladimir Soares, via Unsplash. In-text photo is by Zan, also via Unsplash


Hybrid: please use appropriate links in the listing
LIDC, 20 Bloomsbury Square
London, WC1A 2NS United Kingdom

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Charine John, LIDC.

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