Feminist Economist, World Bank Consultant to Deliver Eckley Lecture
Jan. 20, 2017
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— A feminist economist who regularly consults for the World Bank
and the United Nations will present the Eckley Lecture in Economics Feb. 8 at Illinois Wesleyan University.
Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University,
will use a global perspective to discuss women’s empowerment in the labor market at
7 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Hansen Student Center (300 Beecher St., Bloomington). Her presentation
will focus on successful strategies for empowering women in the labor market and the
benefits not just to women, but also to their families and to economies as a whole.
“In the era of smart phones and smart cars, empowering women can be a ‘gender-smart’
way to achieve economy-wide gains,” Rodgers said.
An expert on East and South Asian economies, Rodgers has traveled to and lived in
Asia to conduct her research, which focuses on feminist economics, labor studies,
economics of the family, development economics, and nutrition and food policy. She
is the author of Maternal Employment and Child Health: Global Issues and Policy Solutions (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011), an empirical study of the relationship between the
employment of mothers and three aspects of malnutrition among children under five
in several Asian countries including India, Pakistan and the Philippines. She has
also published numerous articles in refereed economics journals.
In addition to working regularly as a consultant for the World Bank, the United Nations
and the Asian Development Bank, Rodgers has served as an associate editor for the
journal Feminist Economics for more than a decade. She was president of the International Association for Feminist
Economics in 2013-2014. Rodgers earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Cornell
University and holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.
Ilaria Ossella-Durbal, chair and associate professor of economics, said Rodgers is
a prolific researcher whose interests include the impact of public policy and labor
laws on women’s employment and wages, how ownership rights and access to resources
for women can not only improve their children’s welfare but also reduce their household
poverty level, and how gender disparity, growth and development are all interconnected.
“Economics of gender is an area of economics that our students are generally not exposed
to, so it is our honor to have such a distinguished scholar in this field provide
us with her insights,” said Ossella-Durbal.
The Eckley Lecture in Economics was made possible by a gift to Illinois Wesleyan from
President Emeritus Robert S. Eckley, his wife Nell, and the Eckley Family Foundation
shortly before President Eckley passed away in 2012. Prior to his 18-year tenure as
Illinois Wesleyan’s president, Eckley was considered one of the nation’s top business
economists and was Caterpillar Inc.’s first professional economist. Eckley earned
a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.
Rodgers’ visit to Illinois Wesleyan is also a part of the co-curricular programming
surrounding the University’s annual theme “Women’s Power, Women’s Justice.” Her lecture is free and open to the public.