Dr. Esha Chatterjee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Maryland College Park in 2020. Her primary research interests are in the fields of demography and gender, work and family. Her past and ongoing projects examine the relationship between women’s employment and education; fertility intentions, behavior and maternal health, unmet need for contraception, and internal migration in the Indian context. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Population Studies, and Demographic Research; and also, been regularly presented in the annual conferences organized by the Population Association of America (PAA). Her paper, “Indian paradox: Rising education, declining women’s employment” has been awarded the Editor’s choice award by Demographic Research, and has been featured in several prominent media outlets in India like The Hindu, The Print and Livemint. Outside of academia, she has worked in the past, as a consultant in World Bank on projects on ‘water and gender’; ‘demographic trends in South Asia’, and on the ‘global review of aging cities’. Currently she is an invited member of an advisory group created by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, covering the theme ‘Equity and Inclusion’ in implementing a new scheme titled “Multidisciplinary Education and Research Improvement in Technical Education (MERITE)”.
Prior to joining the Department at UMD I had no previous background in Sociology. I joined the Department to work with Prof. Sonalde Desai on the India Human Development Survey project. This was a dream come true for me, as it enabled me to work on various social problems in the Indian context that I was interested in. Staying in College Park was an entirely new experience for me, since it was the first time I was away from home and learning to adjust to a host of new experiences. The coursework at UMD was a wonderful learning opportunity for me, it enabled me to think critically, and it was the first time I was exposed to discussion-based classes. I am particularly thankful to Prof. Sonalde Desai and Prof. Reeve Vanneman for being very kind mentors and perfect role-models, to Prof. Feinian Chen and other faculty from whose courses I learnt a lot, and to my friends without whom it would have been impossible to get through grad school. I am also grateful to have got opportunities to work with Dr. Maitreyi Bordia Das at World Bank during my time at UMD.