Debbie Budlender is an independent research consultant. She was employed as a specialist researcher with the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (C A S E), a South African non-governmental organisation working in the area of social policy research, from 1988 to June 2012. Previous employment includes administrative and research work for trade unions, and research for the Cape Town university-based Southern African Labour and Development Research Unit at the time of the Second Carnegie Enquiry into Poverty.
Between April 1997 and March 2002 Debbie was on a long-term part-time secondment to Statistics South Africa, the country's national statistical bureau. At Stats SA Debbie worked primarily on gender, employment, poverty and children's issues. Between April 2002 and June 2012 she was on a long-term part-time secondment to the Centre for Actuarial Research at the University of Cape Town.
Debbie has served as a consultant to non-governmental organisations, governments, parliamentarians and donors in more than 30 countries, primarily in respect of budgets, statistics, gender, children and poverty. She has a BA honours in economics, an MA in industrial sociology, and a BSc in computer science and mathematics. She has also worked on these issues with civil society, government, parliament and academics in South Africa. She has an honorary doctorate in Social Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is the deputy chairperson of the council of the University of Cape Town.