My research interests are focused substantively in the areas of gender, women's empowerment, marriage and family, feminism, international development, domestic violence, postcolonial sociology, and postcolonial feminism; and geographically in South Asia and the US. I am interested in exploring gendered power relations and gender division of labor in marriages and other kinds of families. I am currently working on multiple research projects in areas including domestic violence, women's empowerment and postcolonial sociology. I teach the following undergraduate courses at the University of Maryland: Introduction to Sociology (Sociology department) and Beginner's Yoga (Kinesiology department). 

My doctoral dissertation, titled "Platonic Co-Parenting in the Global North: A New Lens into the Gender Revolution" is a feminist study of the new and rapidly growing practice of platonic co-parenting in advanced industrial countries. Platonic co-parenting includes a variety of arrangements in which two or more individuals of any gender or sexual orientation who are not romantically involved come together to have a child. I examine gendered power dynamics and the gender division of parental labor in these relationships to capture the extent to which this alternative family form—in which parenting is separated from romantic relationships and from coresidence—is creating and sustaining gender egalitarian relationships. In other words, how egalitarian are these parenting partnerships? To answer this overarching question, I investigate the practice of platonic co-parenting with three research questions: 1) What are the motivations for people to choose this path? 2) What characteristics do people look for while choosing co-parents? 3) How do people navigate gendered norms in the process of becoming co-parents? Drawing on in-depth interviews with approximately 50 platonic co-parents (some of them paired with others in the sample) and those aspiring to enter such relationships, I analyze the expectations (of ‘aspiring coparents’) and realities (of ‘current coparents’) surrounding parental roles, responsibilities, decision making and custodial rights. 

Prior to entering academia, I was a journalist in India for 5 years. During this time I covered health, education, poverty and development-related issues for leading newspapers in India. I also reported extensively on son preference and female foeticide, and caste-based discrimination. I later taught journalism at the School of Communication, Manipal University (India), and Gender Studies at the Asian University for Women (Bangladesh). I also worked as a Communications Consultant for Bangalore-based NGOs, Vimochana and FEDINA. Both organizations work on providing protection, counseling and legal help for victims of domestic violence and dowry harassment. 

I hold a master’s degree in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics and Political Science. I am currently a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, from where I also received a master's in Sociology. I am scheduled to graduate in Spring 2024. 

Areas of Interest

  • Marriage, Family, Gender inequality, Gender and Development, Feminism, Domestic violence, Immigration, Postcolonial feminism


  • MSc
    Gender, Development and Globalization
  • MA
Shilpa Reddy
IHDS office, 3rd floor, Art-Sociology Building
Department of Sociology
shilpa [at]