Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Batool Zaidi

Assistant Professor of Sociology at Western Washington University
Western Washington University



Batool Zaidi is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Western Washington University. She obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2019. Her research addresses gender inequality in the global South through the analysis of health outcomes, cultural norms, and development projects. Her three-article dissertation examined the relationship between gender inequality, son preference and child outcomes through analysis of family contexts. The articles focused on: 1) understanding gender differentials in child mortality through a theoretically grounded conceptualization of son preference; 2) analyzing generalized versus selective discrimination against Pakistani girls in parental health-seeking practices; and 3) assessing son preference as an explanation for the paradoxical Muslim (versus Hindu) advantage in child mortality in India. This dissertation project advanced her broader agenda of strengthening social demographic scholarship by incorporating consideration of power relations, especially across gender and within families, in international contexts. She is currently developing a South-South comparative study on violence against women in South Asia and Latin America, through the categories of honor killings and femicidios, respectively. Another project will examine the role of marriage systems on son preference and women’s position in their marital home in South Asia. Prior to completing her PhD, Batool was at the Population Council’s Islamabad office, where she worked on projects focusing on family planning, girls education, maternal health, the demographic dividend, and sex-selective abortions.  She has a master’s degree in Population and Development from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Mount Holyoke College.