Professor of Development Economics and Environment, University of Manchester,
Bina Agarwal studied Economics at Murray Edwards College (1970-72) and the University of Delhi, India.
In the 1990s, Agarwal pioneered the issue of gender inequality in property and land, in her book, A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land rights in South Asia (Cambridge University Press, 1994) which garnered many awards, including the Edgar Graham Book Prize 1996, and the A.K. Coomaraswamy Book Prize 1996. Her writings had global impact and placed the issue of women's land rights centrally on the agenda of governments, civil society, and international agencies. It is now included in the UN’s sustainable development goal, SDG5.
Combining academic excellence with policy advocacy, in 2005 she also led a successful civil society campaign for amending India’s Hindu Inheritance law, to make it gender equal.
An economist with a keen interest in interdisciplinary explorations, Agarwal brings to her work insights from both theory and field experience, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged. Her many books include Gender and Green Governance (Oxford University Press 2010), Gender Challenges (Oxford University Press, 2016), a three volume compendium of her selected papers, and Gender Inequalities in Developing Economies (2021, Il Mullino in Italian trans.). Her current research is on cooperation in farming. She also writes on policy matters for Indian newspapers and occasionally pens a poem.
Agarwal has been President of the International Society for Ecological Economics, President of the International Association for Feminist Economics, and Vice President of the International Economic Association. She holds several honorary doctorates and is an elected member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy.
In 2008 Bina Agarwal was awarded a Padma Shri by the President of India. Other honours include the Leontief Prize 2010 ‘for advancing the frontiers of economic thought’; the Louis Malassis International Scientist Prize, Montpellier, 2017, for an ‘outstanding career in agricultural development’; the Order of Agricultural Merit, France; and the International Balzan Prize 2017, ‘for challenging established premises in economics and the social sciences by using an innovative gender perspective.’