Lourdes Benería is a Professor Emerita in Cornell University's Department of City and Regional Planning. She was born in Catalonia, Spain and received her Licenciatura from the University of Barcelona in 1961. She studied economics at Columbia University, earning a M.Ph. in 1974 and a Ph.D.in 1975. She was an assistant and then associate professor at Rutgers University from 1975-1986. She began teaching at Cornell University's Department of City and Regional Planning in 1987 with a dual appointment in Gender, Feminist and Sexuality Studies. She was the first woman tenured in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Among other courses, she taught "International Institutions", "Public and Spatial Economics" and "Globalization and Development." At Cornell, at various times, she directed the Latin American Studies Program, the Gender and Global Change Program and the International Studies Program. She has been a visiting faculty member or guest lecturer at Columbia University, Rutgers University, the New School University and other universities in the United States and in Spain.
Benería's work and publications have focused on issues related to labor and the informal economy, women's work, gender and development, globalization, and Latin American development. This work has led her at various times to serve as president of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE), associate editor of Feminist Economics and The European Journal of Development Research, and a member of the Editorial Board of Economia Crítica among other positions. Parallel to her academic work, Beneria has been involved in activities of international organizations such as the International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She was part of a team of international observers in Nicaragua for their elections in 1990. She served on the International Advisory Committee for the UNIFEM report on World's Women's Progress/2000; was a member of the International Advisory Board for the ILO's Global Programme on Socioeconomic Security (2000 - 04); and, was a member of UNDP's Directory of Appointed Experts on Poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean. Beneria is a recipient of the Narcis Monturiol Award given by the Catalan government for her contribution to the social sciences.