Francesca’s passion for gender equitable development began during her time in Laos completing her honours research for her Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience from The University of Sydney. Following her graduation, she moved to Laos to work as an In-Country Implementation Officer for two Agricultural development programs. Since moving back to Australia in 2020 Francesca has completed her Master of Global Development at James Cook University and is completing a Master of Philosophy (Science) at The University of Sydney with a focus on gender inclusion in agricultural development programs in Laos. In 2022 Francesca will start her PhD at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University. Her thesis will investigate the tensions between critical feminist thinking and the application of feminist theory in development programs.
Taking a great interest in gender inclusion, Francesca has also worked as a consultant for several organisations including Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Additionally, Francesca is the student representative for the Development Studies Association of Australia, a 2021 Young Farming Champion and the SDG 5 Gender Ambassador for Action for Agriculture.
Research topic: Failing feminism: Culture, female empowerment, and agricultural development
Research Outline: This project seeks to interrogate the persistent gaps and tensions that exist between critical feminist thinking and the application of feminist theory in female empowerment programs. Through desk-based research and in-country fieldwork in Laos, the project will examine perceptions of female empowerment amongst diverse development stakeholders, considering how prevailing views within the policy and practice sector align with critical feminist thought, and the challenges that emerge when pursuing gender-sensitive development across cultural difference.
Dr Kearrin Sims
A/Prof Simon Foale
James Cook University High Degree Research Scholarship