Lanyan Chen has a PhD in Sociology from the University of British Columbia and a Master’s in Communications from Simon Fraser University. She publishes in both English and Chinese and brings a perspective of feminist political economy 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 her leading articles appeared in China Quarterly, Gender and Development, and Feminist Economics. While her published research has mostly focused on China, she is increasingly doing research on these issues in Canada and other countries using comparative perspectives. Her recent research under academic journals review covers issues of empowering Indigenous women, the development of the Anishinabek Nation’s Child Well-Being Law, and health policy in Canada. She has also been extensively involved as a co-applicant over the past few years in a SSHRC-funded project to establish a coordinated rights-based, culturally aware and gender equality approach to combating sex trafficking in Northeastern Ontario, and another SSHRC-funded project to evaluate the role of philanthropy in response to social inequalities and environmental protection. She is the applicant/chief investigator of a SSHRC-funded project on Promoting Reconciliation through Collaboration on a Forum for Regional Development. She received a Nipissing University Research Achievement Award in 2015.
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 where 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, implementation, and evaluation of large-scale projects and programs in support of compliance to international human rights norms and standards. She also initiated situational analyses by way of surveys and field visits, interviews and focus groups, and led training workshops on participatory, action-oriented methodology (PAR), gender analysis, human rights commitments, gender statistics, social assessment, and survey design for projects.