She has worked for 35 years nationally and internationally on population policies, reproductive and sexual health, gender equality and women’s human rights, as well as issues of poverty, human development and labor markets. Her work has helped to shape the global paradigm shift on population and development.
A citizen of India, Sen holds a PhD in economics from Stanford University. She is an adjunct professor of global health and population at Harvard University and has been a professor of public policy at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India. She also serves as the General Coordinator of DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era), of which she is a founding member.
Sen has worked with the United Nations in several capacities, including as the lead consultant for the United Nations Population Fund's 2003-2007 India Population Assessment.
She also serves on the Scientific and Technical Advisory group for the World Health Organization's Department of Reproductive Health and Research and is the co-chair of the Pan American Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Group on Gender Equality and Health.
In India, she is a member of the Mission Steering Group for the National Rural Health Mission, and the Governing Board of the National Health Systems Resource Centre. She is also a member of the High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Care set up by the Indian Planning Commission.
Her combination of advocacy, practical experience, activism and analysis has won Sen a number of awards and honors, including the Volvo Environment Prize for her work on women, population and development and honorary doctorates from the University of East Anglia, the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm), the Open University (UK), the University of Sussex, and the University of Edinburgh.