Image of SaumyaIn September 2023, Ms. Saumya joined the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations as a Fulbright Visiting Doctoral Researcher for the academic year. She is a lawyer by training and her interest lies in socio-legal research, or, in other words, in exploring what difference any law could make in the lives of the people for whom it was enacted. She holds a master’s degree from the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi and is pursuing a Ph.D. from the National Law University, Delhi, India. Having worked as a lawyer in the past, she has had the opportunity to observe gender-based power relationships in society and at work up close through employment, family, and property disputes.  

Saumya’s research currently focuses on women and work. Through the Fulbright grant, she is exploring how persons who identify as women or gender non-binary and hold precarious, low-paying jobs respond to exploitative working conditions. She is focusing on the various personal, socioeconomic, and professional factors and other aspects of vulnerability that influence their decision-making at work and experience with grievance redressal mechanisms. She is doing a similar work in India with women engaged in low-paid garment-manufacturing jobs. 

Back home, Saumya also participates in research and awareness programs on human rights and women and the law. In 2020, she was a visiting researcher at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, to work as a part of the Indian Ministry of Education's SPARC Project on Law, Gender, and Sustainable Development. She has also acted as a resource person for different awareness sessions on women and legal rights held by India’s University Grant Commission's Center for Women Studies at Udaipur University for field activists and students.