Simeen Mahmud is the Head (a.i.) of the Gender Studies Cluster and the Coordinator of the Centre for Gender and Social Transformation (CGST) at BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University. She studied Statistics at Dhaka University and Medical Demography at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She joined Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) in 1974 as Staff Demographer and retired in 2008 as Research Director of the Population Studies Division. She was a MacArthur Fellow at the Harvard Centre for Population and Development in 1993.
As a demographer her research focus is on women’s status, work and fertility, on conceptualising the processes of women’s empowerment and on women’s employment. She has also researched extensively on women’s access to NGO membership and micro finance and the impact on their lives and gender outcomes. Recently her research has shifted to gender dynamics in the labour market and social norms around women’s work.
Simeen has extensive field research experience in rural and urban areas of Bangladesh, both in individual research projects as well as in multi disciplinary teams, using both quantitative and qualitative methods and analytical tools. She has considerable research management and policy engagement experience from being involved in two long term multi country research and policy analysis consortia. She was the country coordinator of the Bangladesh work in the 10 year long “Citizenship, Participation and Accountability” Development Research Centre and the main country lead for the “work” theme in the 7 year long “Pathways of Women’s Empowerment” Research Programme Consortium funded by DFID. Both research consortia were multi country collaborative partnerships that carried out grounded empirical case studies and quantitative household surveys for comparative synthesis, including high level communication and policy engagement at international and national forums.
Simeen worked in partnership with several national and international research organizations and agencies, universities and donors. These include, among others, The Population Council (USA), International Center for Research on Women (USA), Institute of Development Studies (Sussex, UK), WIEGO, Centre for Policy Dialogue (Bangladesh), Planning Commission (Bangladesh), BRAC Research and Evaluation Division (Bangladesh), ICDDR (Bangladesh), Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (Bangladesh), South Asia Network on Economic Modeling (Bangladesh); Bloomberg School of Public Health (Johns Hopkins University, USA), University of Toronto, Centre on International Cooperation (New York University), Gender Institute (LSE, UK), University of Manchester (UK), Gender Studies Department (Dhaka University). Donors include Unicef, ILO, Rockefeller Foundation, DFID, IDRC, World Bank, HomeNet South Asia, SIDA and currently with the ODI London.