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Personal profile


Samanthi J. Gunawardana is a Senior Lecturer in Gender and Development in the Faculty of Arts, and a member of the Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre.

From 2013-2022, Samanthi was the Course Director for the Master of International Development Practice.  She has a PhD in Economics and Commerce from The University of Melbourne. Prior to joining Monash University, she was a Lecturer in Employment Relations at Griffith University, and an Instructor in Labour Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Samanthi was the 2009-2010 Visiting Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Connecticut, and in 2006 she was a Visiting International Fellow at Cornell University.

Samanthi’s research examines the impact of development policy on employment systems, labour, and livelihoods among rural women in South Asia, with a particular emphasis on gender, development and labour in Sri Lanka. Key topics explored include export processing zone employment systems, freedom of association, labour organizing, labour migration, and connections between the political economy of households and development policy.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research area keywords

  • International Relations
  • Gender
  • Labour Force
  • Developing countries
  • Worker's Rights
  • Human Rights
  • Political Economy
  • Ethical Sourcing
  • Feminist political economy
  • Livelihoods
  • Sri Lanka
  • Economic security
  • Employment relations
  • Entrepreneurship


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