Ruth Smith

Ruth Smith


I started my Postgraduate Research Degree in 2018 in the School of Earth and Environment studying the nexus of climate change, agricultural transformation and gender studies in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to this I graduated from my MSc in Environment and Development at the University of Leeds in 2018 and from my BSc in Geography and Geology at the University of Manchester in 2014. I have also worked as a Graduate Environment Consultant for an Energy and Environment Consultancy, an Adaptation Intern at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and a Technical Support Advisor for Natural England (the Government’s advisor on the natural environment). My MSc dissertation focused on local perceptions of climate change in the East Usambara Mountains of north-eastern Tanzania and how this affects support for and engagement with NGO-led adaptation initiatives.

I also work as PGR Ambassador for the Centre for Global Development at the University of Leeds. 

Research Project

My PhD is funded through a Priestley International Centre for Climate Scholarship. The conceptual underpinning of the thesis is that we are governed through problematisations of aspects of society that need to be ‘fixed’. The thesis thus explores the discursive framing of gender inequality as a policy ‘problem’ within agricultural transformation policy and practice, how this co-opts feminist discourse, and hence constructs gender relations in the process.

Research interests

My current research interests are interdisciplinary and centre around climate change adaptation; climate impacts, vulnerability and risks and their relationship with gender; marginalisation; political ecology and international development.


  • MSc, Environment and Development, University of Leeds (Distinction)
  • BSc, Geography and Geology, University of Manchester (First Class)

Research groups and institutes

  • Environment and Development
  • Sustainability Research Institute
  • Social and Political Sciences