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Akanksha A. Marphatia PhD

Akanksha A. Marphatia PhD

Research Associate and Post-doctoral Affiliate, Newnham College

Geographies of inequality; life-course approach; variability in women's marriage age and educational attainment, and its consequences for maternal and child outcomes; South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

Akanksha Marphatia's research seeks to understand the persistence of early marriage in South Asian societies despite widespread recognition of its adverse consequences. Using a biosocial life-course approach, she investigates the social characteristics (autonomy, gender power relations) and physiological traits (nutrition, reproduction) associated with variability in educational attainment and women's marriage age in rural India and lowland Nepal. She also investigates the geographic distribution of these traits and how location may shape unequal access to resources and life opportunities.

Akanksha is currently a Research Associate on a 3-year project focusing on understanding variability in women's marriage age and it's consequences for maternal and child outcomes in lowland Nepal. The research project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust. It is a collaborative effort between Dr Alice Reid (my PhD Supervisor, in the Cambridge Group for the History of Population & Social Structure), Dr Gabriel Amable (Geography, Cambridge University), Professor Rufus Johnstone (Zoology, Cambridge University), and Professor Jonathan Wells and Professor Mario Cortina-Borja, both at University College London, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.

A broader goal of this, and previous research is to apply the evidence to inform public policy debate. Examples of efforts include positioning women's early marriage as a key public health priority; demonstrating how gender inequality is more important than conventional markers of economic growth in shaping child mortality and under-nutrition; discussing whether greater education is changing women's social status; and developing feminist macro-economic frameworks to better balance human development, economic stability and growth priorities.


  • 2016: PhD, Geography, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2012: MPhil, Education, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 1999: EdM, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, USA
  • 1997: BA, French, San Francisco State University, USA with coursework at La Sorbonne and Nanterre University, France


  • 2013: Intensive Summer Course, Introductory Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
  • 2012-2013: Training in Anthropometry, Institute of Child Health, University College London, UK and Cilento Park Genetic Project, Italy


  • 2018-: Research Associate, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2017: Independent Researcher, custom-designing questionnaire on education, marriage age, and geography for longitudinal biomedical cohort follow-up studies in Nepal and Ethiopia
  • 2010-2011: Acting Director, International Education Team, ActionAid International
  • 2005-2010: Senior Education Research and Policy Manager, ActionAid International, with work conducted across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
  • 1998-2004: Consultant, Gender and Education, Macroeconomic Policy Reform, World Bank (Djibouti); Save the Children UK, Catholic Relief Services and World Education (India and Ghana)
  • 2000-2003: Social Scientist, International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) in USA, Guinea, Mali and Morocco
  • 1994-1995: Consultant, Education Policy Reform, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in France, Japan and Kenya


[Publications will be loaded automatically from the University's publications database...]


  • 2020: Introductory Statistical Methods (five courses). Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 2000 - present, guest lectures at Department of Geography and Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge; Institute of Education, University College London; Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto and Humber College, Canada
  • 2006-2007: Senior Research Associate, School of Public Health, Brunel University, UK
  • 2003-2004: Masters' Thesis Advisor, 'Girls' Education', John Hopkins University, School of Advanced and International Studies, USA
  • 1998-2000: Assistant Teacher, Primary Grade 1 and Adult Literacy Tutor to native and second language students, USA