Isabelle Pike

Isabel PIKE

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Faculty Affiliate, Gender Centre
Spoken languages
English, French, Kiswahili
Areas of expertise
  • Development, Aid policies
  • Gender, women and public policies
  • Redistribution policies, social inequalities, poverty
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Africa
  • Subsaharan Africa


Isabel Pike is a sociologist whose research focuses on gender, development and inequality in Africa. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020. 

Her current book project explores the contested narrative in Kenya that “the boy child has been forgotten” as a means to understand both reactions to social change as well as the ways that development discourse can be repurposed. The book explores the narrative from a variety of vantage points: how it circulates in the media, how it resonates on the ground, and how NGOs and other policy actors put it into action. 

Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, she has several parallel projects, focused on the life course. These projects explore the gendered and economic dynamics of marriage and romantic relationships, occupational gender segregation in the informal sector, and the theoretical and methodological challenges of research on youth. 

She grew up in Uganda and prior to academia, worked for the World Food Programme in Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Mali. 


Selection of publications

  • Pike, Isabel (2021) “Men’s Economic Status and Marriage Timing in Rural and Semi-Urban Malawi” Social Forces 100(1), 113-136
  • Pike, Isabel (2020) “A Discursive Spectrum: The Narrative of Kenya’s “Neglected” Boy Child”, Gender & Society 34(2), 284-306
  • Grant, Monica and Isabel Pike (2019) “Divorce, Living Arrangements, and Material Well-being during the Transition to Adulthood in Rural Malawi” Population Studies 73(2), 261-275 
  • Pike, Isabel, Sanyu Mojola and Caroline Kabiru (2018) Making Sense of Marriage: Gender and the Transition to Adulthood in Nairobi, Kenya. Journal of Marriage and Family, 80(5), 1298-1313
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Isabel Pike