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A Field of One’s Own: Gender & Land Rights Pioneer Bina Agarwal recognized with Leontief Prize

June 2009

Grassroots International’s friends at the Global Development & Environment Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University announced their award of the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought to Bina Agarwal of Delhi University, India. Agarwal is an early pioneer of research and advocacy on gender and land rights, which many of Grassroots’ partners have been fighting for in the field. Her 1994 book, A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia is considered the seminal work in this arena.


According to GDAE, “Bina Agarwal’s contributions to broadening the frontiers of economic thought have been both theoretical and empirical, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged. An economist with a keen interest in interdisciplinary and inter-country explorations, she has done pioneering work especially on women’s rights in land, and gender and environment governance. An original thinker and policy advocate, she brings to her work insights from both research and field experience. Her writings have influenced policy nationally and globally. Dr. Agarwal’s publications include eight books and numerous professional papers on subjects such as land, livelihoods and property rights; environment and development; the political economy of gender; poverty and inequality; law; and agriculture and technological change.   Her multiple award-winning book: A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia (Cambridge University Press, 1994) was acclaimed by the jury of the Edgar Graham prize as “a superb analysis” and a “lasting milestone” that would benefit a vast segment of the world’s disadvantaged. She is a Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University. She has been President of the International Association for Feminist Economics, and was a founder member of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics. In 2008 the President of India awarded her the Padma Shri. She currently serves on the U.N. Committee for Development Policy and the Indian Prime Minister’s National Council for Land Reforms.   ‘Bina Agarwal embodies the kind of theoretically rigorous, empirically grounded, and policy-oriented economics that the Leontief Prize was created to recognize,’ said GDAE Co-Director Neva Goodwin. ‘Her contributions to both scholarship and policy on economic development, the environment, well-being, and gender have been an inspiration to GDAE for many years.'”

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