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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Visiting scholar from Nigeria will provide a global perspective on gender inequality and human development, Nov. 9, 16

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KINGSTON, R.I. -- November 5, 2009 -- International scholar Bola Akanji, a full research professor from the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, is visiting the University of Rhode Island this month. URI’s Women's Studies, Department of Economics, and African and African American Studies program are hosting her visit.

Akanji is actively involved in studying and assessing policy processes in Nigeria that relate to gender, macroeconomics, and sustainable development. Her expertise includes gender budgeting, gender mainstreaming strategies, engendering policy, benchmarking processes, and developing the national gender policy.

She will give two free, public lectures. The first one, “Gender Inequality And Human Development: A Comparative Global Perspective” will be held Monday, Nov. 9 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Lippitt 402, 5 Lippitt Road, Kingston. The second lecture “Gender: The Missing Link In Africa's Growth And Development,” will be held Monday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the URI Providence Campus, 80 Washington St., Providence.

“Anyone who attends one or both of these lectures will get a better understanding of the power relations not only between countries but within countries that create poverty and inequality. Whether you're from Africa or the United States, the same power relations between women and men do operate to affect lives and livelihoods,” says Jody Lisberger, director of the URI Women’s Studies Program.

Akanji earned a doctorate in agricultural economics and works extensively on policy issues as researcher, consultant, trainer, and policy analyst. She focuses on Nigerian and African development areas, such as poverty analysis, market, labor and structural studies in agriculture, liberalization, and commodity pricing policies.

She is a member of the International Working Group on Gender, Macroeconomics, and International Economics or GEM-IWG, an international network of economists formed in 1994 for the purpose of promoting research, teaching, policy making and advocacy on gender-equitable approaches to macroeconomics, international economics and globalization.

Akanji will return to URI in the spring to teach a course on gender, economics, and Africa’s sustainable development.

“We are delighted to have Bola at URI because this is a time in Women's Studies when many global feminists, especially in Africa, are looking deeply at gender policies to investigate the deep structural and policy reasons for ongoing inequalities and inequities for women,” says Lisberger. “These inequalities, in a gender perspective, can be seen to emanate from ways in which governments and institutions have traditionally designed and implemented policy without taking into account the issues of access and resources for women. Bola's expertise and her lectures will examine how and why gender-based policies are crucial for creating equality and equity for women, and how such gender-based policies have an immediate effect on human development, well-being, and sustainability at the local, national, and global level.”

Akanji is visiting several classes across disciplines and colleges. “The collaboration is an exciting step for URI as it continues to move toward developing more global courses and awareness,” says Lisberger. “Bola's visit makes clear the benefits of interdisciplinary discourse and the university's potential to help students and faculty discuss global policies and their effects.”