Visiting policy practitioners

Bama Athreya

Dr. Bama Athreya is an expert on international labor issues, gender and social inclusion, and business and human rights. From 2019 through 2021 she was an Economic Inequality Fellow at Open Society Foundations and Senior Advisor on Gender, Equity and Inclusion to Laudes Foundation. From 2013 through 2019 she served as USAID’s Senior Specialist for Labor where she developed new programming to address labor rights, counter human trafficking, and promote women’s economic inclusion and was part of a working group to advance USAID’s approach to gender and social inclusion. She has developed and led multi-stakeholder initiatives with global corporations, and has worked and written extensively on labor and gender in US trade policy. She is on the Board of Directors of Green America, Advisory Board for Worker Info Exchange, affiliated as a Fellow with Just Jobs Network, and a regular contributor to She hosts a podcast on the future of work, The Gig. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan, and a certificate in Strategic Management for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from Georgetown University.


Educational background

University of Michigan, PhD, Anthropology

University of Pennsylvania, B.A., Anthropology 

Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies, Certificate in Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management, Management


Professional affiliations

Worker Info Exchange

Just Jobs Network

Green America

Georgetown University Institute for Transformational Leadership

Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan

SweatFree Purchasing Consortium

Current research

Slaves to Technology: Worker Control in the Surveillance Economy


Recent publications

Gig Work Around the World: Looking Back, Looking Forward, January 6, 2021

Trade policy won't work for workers till it works for women, FPIF September 3, 2021

Can Tech Tame the Outlaw Ocean?

“Private Compliance Initiatives and Labour Inspection,” background paper for International Labour Organization, November 2013.

“No Access to Justice: The Failure of Ethical Labelling Systems for Worker Rights” (with Brian Campbell), Development and Change, Wiley Blackwell Press, 2013.

“Comparative Case Analysis of the Impacts of Trade-Related Labor Provisions on Select US Trade Preference Recipient Countries,” US Department of Labor Office of Trade and Labor Affairs, Contract Research Program, Washington, DC, September 2011.

“Shop with a Conscience?” Dream of a Nation, Green Press Initiative, 2011.

“Survey of Responsible Corporate Sourcing Practices in Rural and Hard-to-Reach Communities,” policy brief for Upstream IS/ International Labour Organization, November 2013.