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Cynthia McDougall

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Cynthia McDougall joined SEI Asia in November 2021 as a Senior Research Fellow. She leads the Gender, Environment and Development (GED) team in Asia and co-leads SEI’s global program on Gender Equality, Social Equity and Poverty (GESEP).

Cynthia is an interdisciplinary social scientist with over 20 years of experience in gender, social equity and inclusion in natural resource governance and food systems research. Prior to joining SEI, she was the Gender Research Leader for WorldFish in the One CGIAR for seven years. Her work there included leading the gender, equity and inclusion research and integration in smallscale fisheries and aquaculture across Asia, Africa and the Pacific for the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-food Systems (‘FISH’). She has also worked in Ecohealth approaches with Canada’s International Development Research Centre. During her ten years with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Cynthia contributed to the development of adaptive collaborative management (ACM) approaches for greater inclusion, equity and livelihood outcomes.

Cynthia’s particular interests include inter- and transdisciplinary research, participatory action research, and transformative approaches, and how these can leverage scalable shifts towards empowerment, equality, poverty reduction, food and nutrition security and sustainability. In line with this, since 2015 Cynthia has been spearheading and supporting the development of gender transformative approaches in and for food systems and natural resource governance.  This includes leading the One CGIAR GENDER Platform Working Group on Gender Transformative Approaches and contributing to the UN Food Systems Summit Cluster on Gender Transformative Approaches. With an extensive science and nonscience publications track record, and as a regular speaker at international events including a TEDX talk, Cynthia routinely contributes to shifting agendas and sparking dialogue in these areas.

Dr McDougall holds a BA Hons (Political Science and Development Studies) from Trent University in Canada, an MPhil (Geography) from Cambridge University in the UK, and a PhD (Knowledge, Technology and Innovation) from Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

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