Watson Institute at Brown University
International and Public Affairs
Vibha Pinglé

Vibha Pinglé

Vibha Pinglé

Adjunct Lecturer in International and Public Affairs

Areas of Interest: Gender and Development, Africa, South Asia


After completing her Ph.D. in sociology at Brown University, Vibha lectured in social studies at Harvard, was a visiting professor at Brown, an assistant professor at Rutgers, and a fellow and co-director of the Gender and Development program at the Institute of Development Studies. She has been a consultant to the World Bank, DFID, the Aga Khan Foundation, UNDP, and Fidelity Investments. Her publications include: ‘Rethinking the Developmental State: India's Industry in Comparative Perspective’ (St. Martin’s Press, NY, 1999), ‘Identity Landscapes, Social Capital, and Entrepreneurship: Small Business in South Africa’ (CPS, Johannesburg, 2001), book chapters, articles in professional journals and in newspapers.

Vibha Pinglé founded Ubuntu at Work (a nonprofit) in 2010. Ubuntu at Work grew out of her research on women micro-entrepreneurs in South Africa, Namibia, Egypt, Nigeria, India, Indonesia and Nepal and helps poor working women find sustainable pathways out of poverty.


Vibha Pinglé's current project examines women, their work and communities from Catalhoyuk 9,000 years ago to today. During these 9,000 years women have had to reckon with patriarchal families and communities, misogynistic cultural pressure, and in recent centuries, institutionalized misogyny.

Drawing on over 25 years of conversations with countless poor working women in South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Egypt, Nepal, Indonesia, and India she argues that when women have a community of women supporting them, they are able to effectively bargain with patriarchy and carve out a life of some dignity for themselves though institutionalized misogyny still keeps them down.

Her analysis leads her to conclude that bending the arc of gender justice requires us to gut the very foundations of systemic misogyny. Transforming institutions from ones that seek to control ‘man’s greed, lust, and ferocity’ to ones that protect and empower communities, and promote collaborative production activities is essential.


IAPA1701M Fall22 S01 Justice, Gender, and Markets