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Devaki Jain

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Alma mater

M.A. Parthasarathy

Devaki Jain

Sreenivasan Jain

Notable awards
Padma Bhusan

University of Oxford

M. A. Sreenivasan

Devaki Jain - Wikipedia

Women, Development, And The Un, Women's quest for power, Minds, bodies, and exemplars

Similar People
Diane Elson, Diana L Eck, Sreenivasan Jain

Main interests

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Devaki Jain (born 1933) is an Indian economist and writer, who has worked mainly in the field of feminist economics. In 2006 she was awarded the Padma Bhusan, the third-highest civilian award from Government of India, for her contribution to social justice and the empowerment of women.


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Early life

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Jain was born in Mysore, the daughter of M. A. Sreenivasan, a civil servant and sometime Dewan (premier) of the princely state of Gwalior.


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Jain studied at various convent schools in India and attended St Anne's College, Oxford. Having graduated from Oxford with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, she then taught economics at Delhi University until 1969.

United Nations and international networking

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Through working on her book, Women in India, she involved herself in feminist issues. She took an active part in writing, lecturing, networking, building, leading, and supporting women.

Jain was founder of the Institute of Social Studies Trust (ISST) in New Delhi and served as director until 1994. She has also worked in the field of women’s employment and edited the book Indian Women for India’s International Women’s Year.

Gandhian philosophy has influenced Jain’s work and life. In line with this philosophy, her academic research has focused on issues of equity, democratic decentralisation, people-centreed development, and women’s rights. She has worked for local, national, and international women’s movements. She currently lives in Bangalore, India.

Jain has travelled extensively as a participant in many networks and forums. As Chair of the Advisory Committee on Gender for the United Nations Centre in Asia-Pacific, she has visited numerous countries, including most Pacific and Caribbean Island. In Africa, she has visited Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Benin and Senegal, Liberia, Cote D’Ivoir, South Africa and Botswana. Along with Julius Nyerere, she had the privilege of meeting with and discussing the visions and concerns of African leaders. She is also a member of the erstwhile South Commission founded by Nyerere.

She was a member of the Advisory Panel set up by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to advise on the preparation of the 1997 Human Development Report on Poverty and for the 2002 Report on Governance. She was a member of the Eminent Persons Group of the Graça Machel Study Group appointed by the UN to study the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.

In Women, Development, and the UN—A Six-Year Quest for Equality and Justice she shows how women’s contributions have changed and shaped developments and practices at the UN. She introduces the term "feminization of poverty" from the feminist economist point of view. "‘Feminization of poverty,’" Jain explains, "was used to describe three distinct elements: that women have a higher incidence of poverty than men, that women’s poverty is more severe than that of men, that a trend toward greater poverty among women is associated with rising rates of female-headed households."(Jain 2005) According to her, "feminization of work" connotes low-quality, lowly-paid work. Jain argues that "feminization" devalues the increased presence of women.

Academic life

Jain was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (1999) from the University of Durban-Westville, Republic of South Africa. She also received the Bradford Morse Memorial Award (1995) from the UNDP at the Beijing World Conference. She was a visiting Fellow at Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex (1993) and a Fulbright Senior Fellow affiliated both with Harvard University and Boston University (1984). She was also a Fellow at the Government of Karnataka's State Planning Board, a member of the UGC’s Standing Committee on Women’s Studies, and a member of the South Commission, when chaired by Julius Nyerere. In the academic year 2013-14, she was Plumer Visiting Fellow at her alma mater, St Anne's College, Oxford.

Personal life

She was married to the Gandhian economist Lakshmi Chand Jain from 1966 until his death in 2010. She has two children.


Devaki Jain Wikipedia