Award Winners


2024 Awardees

  1. Aryan ShafatAryan Shafat (Class of 2025). Double majoring in Economics and Statistics, with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice.
    • Paper title:  The impact of the World Bank's Social Safety Net for the Poorest Project on short-term welfare in rural Bangladesh
    • Abstract: In this paper I analyse the welfare effects of the World Bank's  Social Safety Net for the Poorest Project in Bangladesh, which was implemented from 2013 till 2017. The project loaned money to five social safety-net programs and was attached with conditions to make such programs more efficient and cost-effective. I look at granular-level survey data and then aggregate across districts to investigate how truly effective the World Bank loan was. In particular, I observe how consumption, in monetary amounts, changes across districts in Bangladesh over three time periods -- 2011, 2015, and 2019. I examine the treated and control districts (counties), through two different models and find that the project has links to increased welfare in targeted districts through increased consumption.

  2. Cynthia RahmanCynthia Rahman (Class of 2024). Global Studies 
    • Paper title:  Governing Empowerment: “Second-Wave” Feminism and Population Control Post-1971 War of Independence in Bangladesh
    • AbstractFollowing the  declaration of independence from Pakistan, the Liberation War led to the rape of 200,000 Bengali women by West Pakistani forces and local collaborators.  In a mission to ‘purify’ the new nation of Bangladesh and re-establish Bengali identity, the government decided to put an exception to the colonial era Penal Code of 1860, which banned abortion. This led to private and state-controlled American population control experts to set up clinics in Bangladesh as a response. During this time period “Second-Wave” elite white feminists produced literature discussing Western involvement in Bangladesh’s reproductive rights scene. The United States spent $25 million dollars annually on abortion procedures in Bangladesh during the neo-Malthusian era of development of the 1970s-1980s. Neo-Malthusians believed that poor people should not reproduce. While most Bangladeshi women did voluntarily seek abortions and contraceptives, especially right after the war, it is not clear that all women understood what the abortion entailed, or gave informed consent. Many left the clinics having been sterilized without their consent or knowledge. While we know that American reproductive rights activists were rallying for access to abortion and birth control in their country, the United States government and other Western development agencies were providing unsafe contraceptives and abortion methods through family planning initiatives in Bangladesh in the 1980s. Through archival analysis and interviews, I find that “Second-Wave” feminist discourse intersects with population control discourse in Bangladesh between the 1970s and 1980s.

lauren glasby, marylin longley, lorraine pereira2018 Awardees

Female Political Empowerment in Bangladesh and Pakistan: The Influence of Economic Participation


  • Lauren GlasbyBA, Political ScienceClass of 2018
  • Marylin Wang Longley, BA, Political ScienceClass of 2018
  • LorrainePereira, BA, Molecular Environmental BiologyClass of 2020

Abstract: The countries of South Asia have made impressive leaps towards the empowerment of women. Looking at government statistics on the number of women who serve in political positions, one might believe that the Bangladesh and Pakistan have similar levels of female political empowerment as the countries have similar numbers of women in political positions. However, as this paper will demonstrate, the assumption that the number of women serving in political positions equates to female political empowerment is misleading. Upon closer examination, Bangladesh has in fact afforded women greater political empowerment compared to Pakistan. So, what would be a better indicator of political empowerment than number of political positions held by women? We argue that economic opportunity may be a more accurate proxy for gauging political empowerment in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Whereas Bangladesh opened its doors to international companies, especially garment factories that employed an increasing number of women, Pakistan took the opposite approach and shut itself out of these economic opportunities, thereby reducing job opportunities for women. Additionally, the stricter religious norms in Pakistan have further prevented women from achieving empowerment. This paper will analyze the effects that economic opportunity has had on the overall political empowerment of women in each of these countries.