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Tara Patricia Cookson

logo Ladysmith
Director, Ladysmith
Ladysmith
Canada

https://ladysmithcollective.com/

https://taracookson.com/


Tara researches social protection and care; development; & the gender data gap.

About the work

As a scholar-activist specialized in social protection and care, she sees a critical role for academic research in public policy making. Tara’s award-winning book, Unjust Conditions: Women’s Work and the Hidden Cost of Cash Transfer Programs (Open Access, University of California Press), illustrated the gendered perils of defining ‘data’ too narrowly in one of the world’s largest anti-poverty programs. Tara directs Ladysmith, a feminist research consultancy that helps international organizations collect, analyze and take action on gender data. In this capacity, she has led data collection and communication projects for a range of clients including UN Women, the International Labour Organization, USAID, and Facebook. Tara received her PhD from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar, and holds an MA from the University of Toronto. Her postdoctoral research on the gendered politics of measurement at the University of British Columbia was funded by SSHRC.

Impact

Tara’s work at Ladysmith is grounded in the conviction that the voices of women and other marginalized groups should inform data-driven development. To this end, Tara’s research and consulting practice focuses on three areas of work. The first is R&D of new data collection tools like Gender Data Kit (genderdatakit.org), applied policy research, and fundamental scholarly research. The second is research communication for advocacy, through writing policy briefs and opinion editorials. And the third is strategic advising for clients who may be new to feminist theories of change, and want thoughtful guidance on how they can contribute to a more just and caring world. An example of this is Ladysmith’s new report, Building Alliances for Gender Equality: How the Tech Community Can Strengthen the Gender Data Ecosystem. Tara thrives in collaborative projects and is excited to find new partners through f<A+i>r.

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