Elizabeth Ransom, associate professor in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, is the principal investigator in a two-year grant from the National Science Foundation for research on women and farm productivity in Africa. 

Part of an NSF Collaborative award of $160,220, Ransom will work in Uganda with her colleague, Carmen Bain, associate professor of sociology at Iowa State University.

The project, “Women’s Empowerment, Food Security and Farm Productivity,” investigates the implications of development initiatives that seek to empower women and enhance gender equity within the dairy sub-sector in Uganda.

“Women dominate the agricultural labor force in Uganda, yet gender-based inequalities constrain their ability to enhance farm productivity and profitability,” Ransom said. “Within this context, a key development strategy to close the gender gap focuses on empowering women within agricultural operations.”

Ransom’s research uses a value chain approach and geospatial analysis to examine gender mainstreaming efforts in Uganda by comparing dairy value chains with active gender and development programs with dairy value chains that do not have gender specific programs. The results from this study will provide a better understanding of how female farmer participation in the marketplace facilitates women’s empowerment and improves farm productivity and food security.

The University of Richmond’s portion of the NSF grant, $84,887 will be used for summer research support for Ransom, undergraduate students and others involved in the data collection and analysis, as well as travel to and within Uganda.

Ransom has taught at the University of Richmond since 2003, with a year away in 2005-06 for the position of the Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

She also serves as a research associate and AidData Research Consortium member in the Institute for Theory and Practice of International Relations, College of William & Mary. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in sociology at Michigan State University and her B.A. at Western Carolina University.  She has published a number of articles in significant journals in her field.

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Associate Professor of Sociology
Globalization and development (Southern Africa)
Political economy of agriculture and food systems
Social studies of science and technology (especially in relation to the agriculture and food)
Gender and development
Sociology of sport