Geography & Environment
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Page Editor:

Professor Sylvia Chant FRSA FAcSS
Tel: 0207 955 7606
Room no. STC.S417a, St Clements Building, LSE

Professor Sylvia Chant - LSE Expert Page

BA (King's College Cambridge), PhD (University College London), FRSA, FAcSS, is Professor of Development Geography, who has conducted field-based research in Latin America (Costa Rica, Mexico), Southeast Asia (Philippines), and West Africa (The Gambia). Professor Chant's main and enduring interests are in gender, poverty, migration, women's employment, household survival strategies and  female-headed households.  She has published widely on these subjects including Women in the Third World (with Lynne Brydon) (1989, reprinted 1993) Women and Survival in Mexican Cities (1991), Gender and Migration (Editor) (1992),Women of a Lesser Cost: Female Labour, Foreign Exchange and Philippine Development (with Cathy McIlwaine) (1995), Gender, Urban Development and Housing (1996), Women-headed Households: Diversity and Dynamics in the Developing World (1997, reprinted 1999), Three Generations, Two Genders, One World (with Cathy McIlwaine) (1998), Mainstreaming Men into Gender and Development: Debates, Reflections and Experiences (with Matthew Gutmann) (2000) and Gender in Latin America (in association with Nikki Craske) (2003).  The latter was published in Spanish as Género en Latinoamerica in 2007, the same year as Professor Chant's latest sole-authored book Gender, Generation and Poverty: Exploring the 'Feminisation of Poverty' in Africa, Asia and Latin America  (see below, and publications page). Early 2009 saw the publication of Geographies of Development in the 21st Century: An Introduction to the Global South, co-authored with Professor Cathy McIlwaine, then Professor of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London, now at King's College London.  More recently Professor Chant has also worked on the preparation of a major edited volume for Edward Elgar entitled The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty : Concepts, Research, Policy.   Published in hardback in 2010  (and in paperback in 2011), the Handbook comprises over 100 chapters addressing different aspects of gendered poverty in all major world regions from 125 authors across the globe.  The book was designated as a 'benchmark' for a Review of Evidence Synthesis Research Awards on gender inclusion/exclusion by ESRC/DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation.

 In March 2011 the book was formally launched at an LSE reception following a Panel Discussion on Gender and Poverty in the 21st Century.  Sylvia chaired a panel of three leading experts - Professor Diane Elson, Professor Nancy Folbre and Professor Maxine Molyneux - in a session opened by convenors of the departments sponsoring the Event - Geography and Environment, and the Gender Institute - along with support from the LSE Annual Fund.  For further details please see

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty: Concepts, Research, Policy (flyer)

Link to on-line version of book

Video of Gender and Poverty in the 21st Century Public Event, 11 March 2011

Professor Chant has been Director of the joint Department of Geography and Environment/Department of International Development (ID) MSc in Urbanisation and Development since 2006, and is currently co-directing the programme with her colleague Professor Hyun Bang Shin.  This is a cutting-edge MSc vital to understanding the causes and implications of development in a world where over 50% of the population is now urban, and most future urban growth will take place in the Global South.  The programme draws on the expertise of a large number of LSE's development and urban faculty with research experience in a diverse array of countries such as Lebanon, India, China, Korea, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Cameroon, Ghana, Gambia, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and beyond. Please visit the following websites for basic details of the programme, and take a look at our short video which features staff, students and alumni: MSc Urbanisation & Development promo video.

Urbanisation and Development Facebook fan page:

Urbanisation and Development Linked-in - for current students and alumni

See also The Global Urbanist at, brainchild of former MSc Urbanisation and Development student Dr Kerwin Datu, now involving a team of other former students!  

And Cities@Geography at which includes publications, activities and research interests of all staff in the Cities/Development Cluster in LSE Geography and Environment.


Gender, Generation and Poverty: Exploring the 'Feminisation of Poverty'
in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Click on image to view complete jacket

To view flyer and ordering information

NB. Inspection copies can be ordered by contacting


Geographies of  Development in the 21st
Century: An Introduction to the Global

Click on image to view larger version

To view flyer and ordering information

NB. Inspection copies can be ordered by


For an extended list of recent and forthcoming PUBLICATIONS please click HERE.

Over time Professor Chant's work has branched into men and masculinities in relation to the family and to Gender and Development (GAD), and into gender, youth and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa (The Gambia and Ghana) with Professor Gareth A Jones.  In the period 2003-2006 she benefited from a three year Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust.  This enabled her to undertake comparative research on inter-generational and household dimensions of the 'feminisation of poverty' in The Gambia, Philippines and Costa Rica.  The principal output of the project was Gender, Generation and Poverty: Exploring the 'Feminisation of Poverty' in Africa, Asia and Latin America, published by Edward Elgar in June 2007. Information on Gender ,Generation and Poverty (flyer and ordering details on publications page).

Published in 2015 was a four-volume Major Works on Gender, Poverty and Development under the auspices of Routledge's Critical Concepts in Development Studies series, which Sylvia has co-edited with former PhD student Dr Gwendolyn Beetham. (link to contents and ordering information)

Among Professor Chant's current ventures is co-authorship (with Professor Gareth A Jones, Dr Katherine Brickell and Dr Sarah Thomas de Benitez) of a book entitled Bringing Youth into Development (likely to be submitted to Zed, London in 2019).   This has entailed new fieldwork into youth and sexuality, and youth and employment in The Gambia.  In the meantime, recently published is Sylvia's co-authored book with Professor Cathy McIlwaine (King's College London) entitled Cities, Slums and Gender in the Global South: Towards a Feminised Urban Future, which has a Foreword written by one of the world's leading experts on gender in urban environments, Professor Caroline Moser  (Emerita, University of Manchester). For more details and ordering information, please click here.


Professor Chant has recently embarked on new geographically and historically comparative research into gendered poverty in the Global South with Professor Sarah Bradshaw and Dr Brian Linneker at Middlesex University.  Interrogating new methodologies and sources of  data which have emerged for various developing countries in the past decade, coupled with field-based study, the aim of this evolving project is to explore the parameters of gendered poverty trends in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and the relevance, inter alia, of current poverty alleviation programmes and the Sustainable Development Goals in addressing women's and girls' multiple, and multifacetted, disavantages.

Professor Chant  also formed part of the LSE Contingent for the DfID-funded. ODI-led  project: Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (2015-23).  The LSE team, comprising Dr Ernestina Coast and Professor Lucinda Platt from Social Policy, and Professor Sonia Livingstone from Psychology,  is headed-up by Professor Naila Kabeer (Department of Gender Studies/Department of International Development).  Sylvia's part in the project involved inputs relating to adolescence and urbanisation on which she worked with Drs Martina Klett-Davies and Jordana Ramalho.    Together with Dr Jordana Ramalho, a recent PhD student of Sylvia's, a co-authored volume on radical policies in gender and development is currently in the planning stage. Prospectively to be published by Pluto Press, who originally approached Sylvia with the idea, our working title is Gender Policies and Development: Reflections on Radical Directions for Agenda 2030.   Jordana and Sylvia will be undertaking new consultative work for this volume aided by an Undergraduate Research Fellow - Arzucan Askin - from the Department of Geography and Environment.

In addition to these initiatives, in 2011 Professor Chant was appointed Series Editor of a major new set of Handbooks on Gender by Edward Elgar. The first of these --  International Handbook on Gender, Migration and Transnationalism: Global and Development Perspectives -- was edited by Laura Oso and Natalia Ribas Mateos, and published in 2013.  Three further Handbooks were published in 2016: Handbook on Gender and Health (edited by Jasmine Gideon), Handbook  on Gender in World Politics (edited  by Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe-Belfrage), and Handbook on Gender and War (edited by Simona Sharoni, Julia Welland, Linda Steiner and Jennifer Pederson).  The latest volume in the series, Handbook on Gender and Social Policy, edited by Sheila Shaver, came out in 2018. At least three additional volumes are in the pipeline including International Handbook on Gender and Environmental Change (edited by Sarah Bradshaw), Handbook on Gender in Asia (edited by Shirlena Huang and Kanchana Ruwampura), and Handbook on Gender and Violence (edited by Laura Shepherd).

Sylvia  has also (as of November 2018) accepted an invitation to become advisory editor on the book sub-series on gender equality which forms part of Springer Sustainable Development Goals \

Linked with her research and writing, Professor Chant has acted as a consultant to various international organisations, including the United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the International Labour Organisation.   She was recently  engaged (with Professor Cathy McIlwaine) in preparing UN-HABITAT's first ever report on the State of Women in Cities 2012/13: Gender and the Prosperity of Cities, and also served as Expert Advisory Group member for UN Women's Progress of the World's Women 2019-20: Families in a Changing World (  Additional honours have included visiting professorial appointments at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla, and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and outside the UK invited conference papers and guest lectures in the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Turkey, Netherlands, France, Austria, Germany, Finland, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, the Philippines and Japan.  In 2009 she was guest of honour and plenary speaker at Ghana's Gender Development Institute's international conference 'The Feminisation of Poverty: A Gender Challenge' in Accra, and she also delivered the 2009 Annual Global Development Lecture at the University of Bergen, Norway. Her speaking engagements in 2011 included keynote addresses at the 8th Cadbury Conference on ‘Women and Inequalities in the 21st Century: African Experiences’ at the University of Birmingham and the first Annual Development Lecture at Birkbeck, University of London. (video excerpt from Birkbeck lecture).   Professor Chant also addressed The Economist's Risk Summit 2011 on the theme of urbanisation.  Engagements in 2012 included the Phyllis Kaberry, Audrey Richards and Barbara E Ward Annual Commemorative Lecture at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford (see pictures by photographer Susan Taylor),  the Annual Conference of the North-South Centre, ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich (for photos and brief coverage of event please see, and the Sixth World Urban Forum in Naples.  In 2013, Sylvia's gave guest lectures at the University of Lund, Sweden, and the University of Bern, Switzerland, and conference presentations at the University of Oslo (Measuring Poverty and Gender Disparity), and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Catalunya (Migration, Development and Gender).  In 2014 she shared the Public Lecture for the 20th anniversary of the LSE's Gender Institute (podcast), presented a seminar at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden in connection with her Adlerbertska Guest Professorship (2013-15) (see below), gave a keynote address to an international conference 'Las Ciencias Sociales Aqui y Ahora' at Unidad Occidente de CIESAS, Guadalajara Mexico,  and another keynote at the International Colloquium 'Childhood in Feminine: Girls' at the Universitat de Barcelona.  In November 2015, Sylvia  presented a guest lecture to the Institute for Women's Leadership Consortium at Rutgers University, and in April 2016 gave one of three keynote addresses (alongside Professors Raymond Tallis and Guy Standing) at Manchester Metropolitan University's event on neoliberalism and austerity. Included in Sylvia's 2017 schedule was the Global Development Institute Lecture at Manchester University on International Women's Day.  In September 2018 she was one of four keynote speakers at the Salzburg Conference in Interdisciplinary Poverty Research on 'Space and Poverty'.

In 2019 Sylvia was winner of the LSE Student Union (LSESU) Teaching

 Excellence Award for 'Research Guidance and Support'



In 2011 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts on grounds of 'her expertise and exploration of gender in geographical development', with 'helping to stake out the field of gender and and development' being mentioned in her conferment as Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2015.

In 2013 she was listed as one of 22 'global thinkers' in Robin Cohen's and Paul Kennedy's third edition of Global Sociology (Palgrave)  in a new chapter on Gender and Sexualities (

Between 2013 and 2015 Sylvia held a three-year appointment as Adlerbertska Guest Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.  This involved making yearly visits to Gothenburg to engage in exchange and mentoring, mainly with the institution's development geographers.

Between 2014 and 2017 Sylvia served as an Advisory Team member on the ESRC-funded Growth Research Programme on 'Agriculture and Growth in Africa', headed by Professor Agnes Andersson Djurfeldt at the Department of Geography, Lund University, Sweden.

In both 2017 and 2018 Sylvia was nominated by the Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group for the RGS-IBG Back Award for applied or scientific geographical studies which make an outstanding contribution to the development of national or international public policy.

In 2019 she received an Outstanding Peer Reviewer Award from Liverpool University Press.

In addition to membership of the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE, Professor Chant is affiliated to the LSE's Department of  Gender Studies (formerly the LSE Gender Institute) (contact:

For some PHOTOGRAPHS taken during fieldwork, conferences and external and LSE courses, please click HERE.

As a keen photographer herself, Sylvia was a prizewinner in the LSE Photo-Prize Exhibition in 2009 and again in 2012, and has had several pictures which have featured in LSE's Perspectives On-Line Gallery and Photo Exhibition, To view these please click HERE.

For selected photographs by Sylvia displayed in the Geography and Environment Department, LSE, please click HERE

In 2013 Sylvia served as one of three judges for the 'Photo' entry in LSE's Research Festival.

At the LSE 2014 Research Festival, Sylvia herself was an exhibitor, with three of her images of young women at an event celebrating community renunciation of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) organised by GAMCOTRAP (Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices), in Wassu, Upper River Region, selected for display: 


'New Era at Wassu'

'Our Daughters'

Sylvia entered three photographs on the theme of youth and the informal economy to the 2015 LSE Research Festival, and was also one of the judges of the 'Strictly Come Researching' competition which offered an opportunity to PhD students to showcase the public as well as scholarly impact of their research.

'All Day Every Day' -(winner of the Popular Prize at the 2015 Research Festival Exhibition)

'Girl Street Vendors, Bakau'

'The Apprentice'


Sylvia's photography has also featured on the 'Urban Vignettes' website established by postgraduate students at the LSE during summer 2012 and subsequently re-launched. .  Please search the following for Sylvia's images, commentaries and a short video    Her most recent contribution is to Urban Vignettes Season 3 (2014), was entitled 'Fashioning the city', which can be accessed on  

For more photography and information please visit


Teaching at LSE

Current/recent courses


Gy421 Gender and Development

Gy431 Cities, People & Poverty in the South

Gy459 Urban Theory and Policy in the Global South (contributor)


Gy140 Introduction to Geographical Research

Gy312 Geographies of Gender in the Global South  (convenor)


Past and present PhD supervision

Cathy  McIlwaine. - Gender, Ethnicity and the Local Labour Market in Limón, Costa Rica (1993)

Nazneen  Kanji. - Gender and Structural Adjustment Policies: A Case Study of Harare, Zimbabwe (1994)

Allyson Thirkell   - The Informal Land Market in Cebu City, the Philippines: Accessibility, Settlement Development and Residential Segregation (1995)

Sarah Bradshaw - Female-headed Households in Honduras: A Study of their Formation and Survival in Low-income Communities (1996).

Cecilia Tacoli - Gender, Life Course and International Migration: The Case of Filipino Labour Migrants in Rome (1996)

Mary Kawar - Gender, Employment and the Life Course: The Case of Working Daughters in Amman, Jordan (1997)

Jo Beall - Households, Livelihoods and the Urban Environment: Social Development Perspectives on Solid Waste Disposal in Faisalabad City, Pakistan (1997)

Silvia Posocco - Secrecy, Subjectivity and Sociality: An Ethnography of Conflict in Petén, Northern Guatemala (1999-2000) (2004).

Deborah Smith - Finding Power: Gender and Women’s Political Participation in Rural Rajasthan, India (2005).

Anna Coates - Health, Reproduction and Identity: Indigenous Women of  Chiapas, Mexico (2006).

Katherine Brickell - Gender Relations in the Khmer Home:  Post Conflict Perspectives  (2007).

Henda Ducados - Women in War-torn Societies: A Study of Households in Luanda’s  Peri-urban Areas (2007) (MPhil).

Carolyn Williams - Sexuality, Rights and Development: Peruvian Feminist Connections (co-supervised with Professor Henrietta Moore) (2009).

Gwendolyn Beetham - Representing 'Success' in Gender Equality and Women's  Empowerment Programming: A Feminist Ethnography of Aid in Haiti 2005-2009 (2011).

Alice Evans - 'What Women Can Do, Men Can Do': The Causes and Consequences of Growing Flexibility in Gender Divisions of Labour in Kitwe, Zambia (2013)

Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed - The Same, but Different: The Everyday Lives of Female and Male Domestic Workers in Lagos, Nigeria  (2016)

Pablo Navarrete - From Survival to Social Mobility: The Role of Local Public Policies in Enhancing Informal Economy Performance in Santiago de Chile (2017). 

 NB**** Pablo not only won the prize for the 'Best PhD paper in  Economics Paper' at the 52nd annual conference of the Academy of Economics and Finance, held in Jacksonville, Florida in February 2015, but in May 2015 also was one of three winners of the 'Strictly Come Researching' competition for PhD students at the LSE Research Festival.  See Pablo talk about his research in a 'grilling' by Professor Conor Gearty

Jordana Ramalho - Risk, Resilience and Responsibilisation: Gendered Participation and Empowerment in the Informal Settlements of Metro Cebu, the Philippines (2019)

Jeanne Firth - Feeding the City After the Flood: Foodscape Philanthropy in Post-Katrina New Orleans (submitted 2019)

Laura Antona - Anatomies and Apparatuses of Violence: The Everyday Encounters of Domestic Workers in Singapore (started 2015)












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Room Number: STC.S417a, St Clements Building, LSE

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