Dr. Lanyan Chen

Lanyan Chen Profile Photo
Professor / Faculty of Arts and Science - Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Social Welfare - Social Welfare and Social Development
Full-time Faculty
Lanyan Chen has a PhD in Sociology from the University of British Columbia. She publishes in both English and Chinese and brings a feminist political economy perspective to her areas of research. Her authored books, journal articles, contributed chapters, and other publications deal with gender issues and inequality. She is the author of Gender and Chinese Development: Towards an Equitable Society, and an editor of Women in China since 1995. Her articles have appeared in China Quarterly, Gender and Development, Oxford Handbooks and Feminist Economics. As a researcher, she takes her role seriously in spreading knowledge and working with people to think of a way forward. This approach reflects her experiences with several United Nations appointments, including the UNIFEM Gender Advisor for Northeast Asia based in Beijing from 1998 to 2003, a position from which she was able to create change through projects, campaigns, and mobilization of people and communities. She has had numerous appointments as a Gender Expert, working on the design and evaluation of large-scale projects and programs in support of compliance to international human rights standards and good governance. She has also initiated situational analyses by way of surveys and field visits, interviews and focus groups, and has led training workshops on participatory, action-oriented methodology, gender analysis and statistics, and social assessment. Her most recent participation in the evaluation of UNFPA’s country program in China is available here.

While her published research has mostly focused on China, she is increasingly conducting research on Canada and is the Award Holder of a SSHRC’s Partnership Development Grant on Promoting Reconciliation through Collaboration on a Forum for Regional Development (2018-2021) and a co-applicant in two other successful SSHRC funded projects: Combating Sex Trafficking in Northeastern Ontario, and Évaluation du rôle et des actions de fondations subventionnaires canadiennes en réponse à l'enjeu des inégalités sociales et des défis environnementaux. She is also a collaborator in a Grand Challenge Canada project, working with South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda, and a project funded by United Nations Gender Facility Fund, working with Tibetan women in Yunnan, China, both on building cooperatives to improve livelihoods and resilience. She received a Nipissing University Research Achievement Award in 2015.
BA, Inner Mongolian University
MA, Simon Fraser University
PhD, University of British Columbia
Areas of Specialization:

Gender analysis, human rights, comparative perspectives on health and social welfare, public policy analysis

Research Interests:

Equality, citizenship, women and social development, social and cultural determinants of health and social welfare, decolonization, policy-making in pursuit of rights and justice 

Current & Future Research:

Completing an article on a transformational perspective of social welfare and an article on transnational socialist feminist movements. Collaborating on a project to establish a coordinated rights-based, culturally aware, and gender equality approach to combating sex trafficking in Northeastern Ontario, and a project to initiate a forum for regional development.

Authored Books

Chen, Lanyan. 2008. Gender and Chinese Development: Towards an Equitable Society. London: Routledge and the IAFFE. 196 pp.

Chen, Lanyan, Shumei Chen, and Xiangmei Wang. 2011. Gender Statistics and China’s Harmonious Development (in Chinese). Tianjin: Tianjin People’s Publishing House. 160 pp.  

Edited Books 

Tan, Lin, and Lanyan Chen, eds. 2015. Women in China since 1995: A Reader of Collection of Women’s Studies. Beijing: China Book Press. 398 pp.

Journal Articles

Chen, Lanyan. 2016. “Gender Statistics and Local Governance in China: State Feminist versus Feminist Political Economy Approaches.” China Quarterly, no. 225: 190-213.


Chen, Lanyan. 2014. “Rural China’s Invisible Women: A Feminist Political Economy Approach to Food Security.” Socialist Studies/Études socialistes 10 (1): 67-85.


Chen, Lanyan. 2008. “Gendering China’s Strategy against AIDS: Findings from a Research Project in Guangdong.” Feminist Economics 14 (4): 183-211.

Chen, Lanyan, and Hilary Standing. 2007. “Gender Equity in Transitional China’s Healthcare Policy Reforms.” Feminist Economics 13 (3-4): 189-212.

Chen, Lanyan. 2000. “Women and Informal Work in China: Reflections on Two Poverty Alleviation Projects.” Canadian Journal of Development Studies 21: 233-53.

Chapters in Edited Books

Chen, Lanyan. 2015. “From Chinese State Capitalism to Women’s Activism: The Implications of Economic Reforms for Women and the Evolution of Feminist Organizing.” In Oxford Handbook on Transnational Feminist Movements, edited by Rawwida Baksh and Wendy Harcourt, 578-606. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Chen, Lanyan. 2011. “Equity in Post-Crisis China: A Feminist Political Economy Perspective.” InHarvesting Feminist Knowledge for Public Policy: Rebuilding Progress, edited by Devaki Jain and Diane Elson, 249-266. Ottawa: IDRC/Sage. 

Chen, Lanyan. 2009. “The Gendered Reality of Migrant Workers in Globalizing China.” In Confronting Discrimination and Inequality in China: Chinese and Canadian Perspectives, edited by Errol P. Mendes and Sakunthala Srighanthan, 186-207. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.