My work addresses questions at the intersection of feminism, political geography and political economy. The feminist political economy of development is the subject of my new book, Human Capital in Gender and Development. This book examines current trends in gender and development governance, motivated by a desire to understand the feminist debates around the relationship between neoliberalism, gender equality, and development. This work starts from a puzzle: Rhetoric about women’s empowerment is widespread among political and economic elites, and girls and women are hyper visible in mainstream development institutions who have long been criticized for policies that compound inequalities. This has provoked intense debate among feminist across disciplines: is this a case of successfully mainstreaming gender into development? Or has feminist radicalism been coopted, as so many other radical movements have found themselves coopted by neoliberalism? My work takes up these issues by looking at the 'Smart Economics' agenda developed by the World Bank and its partner organizations.
My current work takes this curiosity about political change and feminist progress to move beyond the study of mainstream global governance institutions, to look at the potential for transnational activist networks to spark broader reforms through direct action. Funded by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, I am currently researching the geographies of cross-border abortion access, pro-choice activism and state reproductive control. I’m interested in the technological, medical, and political trends that are expanding abortion access beyond traditional state boundaries, as well as the ways states respond to these newer supra-state patterns of access. The early stages of this work have been focused on the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, where abortion law is at the centre of current political debates.