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Janet Townsend was a pioneer in gender and development geography, who inspired a generation of feminist and development geographers. She studied geography at Oxford, followed by DPhil research on land and society in Colombia.

In 1970 she was began a lectureship in geography at Durham University, with a teaching and research focus on Latin America. Janet’s postdoctoral research was with pioneers seeking to settle the rainforests, and she would return to Latin America to undertake research for many years afterwards. Her collaborative monograph, Women’s Voices from the Rainforest (1995), was groundbreaking in challenging international development policy and advocating for the inclusion of local people in seeking solutions to environmental problems.

Janet went on to initiate the first course on geography and gender to be taught in the UK, at Durham University in 1986. Janet was recognised by the Society with the Edward Heath prize in 2005 for geographical research in women and development.

Read an extended tribute to Janet (via The Guardian)

Janet Townsend
© Duncan Phillips