Ardra is a development practitioner based in New York City, with expertise in gender policy, migration and technology for development. In 2017, Ardra served as a Policy Consultant with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), where she helped organize online consultations with UN Member States on an indicator to measure global migration. Prior to this, she has worked as an independent scholar and intern with UN entities such as Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), where she studied UN Innovation Units and partnerships for smallholder farmers.
Her research and advocacy on gender since 2012 has involved working with diverse women’s groups in India and the US such as tea plantation workers, trafficked women, women’s microfinance groups and women in conflict. Alongside, she has helped develop digital and social media strategies for Plan International’s UN Liaison Office and UN Women, through partnerships with the New School University in New York.
Ardra holds a Master of Arts (MA) in International Affairs from the New School, New York City and a Master of Arts (MA) in Development Studies from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, India. Her writings on global development have appeared in Agenda for International Development (A-id), The News Minute, Huffington Post, Madras Courier, Countering Violent Extremism Initiative and elsewhere. The academic papers she co-authored on the impact of mobile phone technology on female sex workers’ livelihood in India have been published in peer reviewed journals such as Human Technology, Gender, Technology and Development and Routledge International Handbook of Sex Industry Research. On Twitter, she is @ArdraManasi.