Gaylean Davies

Gaylean Davies is a PhD student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) at the University of British Columbia (UBC), supervised by Professor Leila Harris. She is a member of both the EDGES Research Collaborative (Environment and Development: Gender, Equity and Sustainability) and the Program on Water Governance. Gaylean is a social scientist whose current research sits at the intersection of gender equality and water governance, access, use and knowledge. Her interests revolve around how water, as an essential resource, organizes and disorganizes gendered relationships. For her PhD research, Gaylean focuses on small water enterprise (SWE) projects designed to ‘empower’ women in underserved sites in Ghana. Using a critical feminist and development lens, Gaylean seeks to understand these projects from the perspectives of women themselves and engages a multi-dimensional and processual understanding of the complex concept of female empowerment.


Prior to joining IRES for her PhD, Gaylean completed her BA in Psychology at UBC and her MA in Sociology and International Development at McGill University. She has focused on gender and critical development scholarship throughout her academics to date. Gaylean’s master’s project was focused on Ghana and quantitatively investigated whether adolescent girls’ access to education was mediated by their own and their guardians’ gender norms, in addition to the oft-studied variables of age, wealth, and rurality. Alongside academia, Gaylean has worked extensively in both the arts and not-for-profit sectors in the UK and Canada.