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Amartya Sen's Bicycle & Role of Cycling in Pioneering Gender Inequality Research

The Nobel Prize committee recently tweeted a photograph of Nobel laureate and economist Amartya Sen cycling on a Birbhum road. Cycling was instrumental in his research on gender inequality among infant boys and girls.

Amartya Sen's bicycle played a pivotal role in his groundbreaking research on gender inequality. Inspired by his journey?

Sen decided to personally cycle through West Bengal's countryside to gather the data. He detailed this experience in his biography, noting how the work initially focused on analyzing existing statistics on male-female differentials in India, later expanding to international comparisons and theoretical frameworks.

In collaboration with Sunil Sengupta, Sen conducted fieldwork in 1983, comparing boys and girls from birth to age five. This involved weighing and studying every child in two large villages in West Bengal. Sen recounted an episode where he took over from his assistant to weigh a particularly challenging child, developing a sense of pride in his fieldwork skills.

Among the many artefacts at the Nobel Museum in Sweden is Sen's iconic bicycle.

Amartya Sen's bicycle

In a 2021 interview with the Harvard Gazette, Sen described himself as an "extreme" bicyclist. Locals in Santiniketan fondly remember him cycling everywhere, even after his Nobel win.

Amartya Sen's bicycle journey not only facilitated groundbreaking research but also symbolized his dedication to addressing gender inequality. His hands-on approach and commitment to his fieldwork are a testament to the significant role that Amartya Sen's bicycle research played in his illustrious career.

Bikepacking India offers customized itineraries, ranging from 2-3 days to an 11-day cycling tour of Rajasthan. Visit [Cycling the Back Roads of Rajasthan]( for more details.

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