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Gender Justice and the Global Backlash

13 May 2022 | Wolfson Theatre

This event was held on Friday 13th May, 14:30-16:00 (BST), in person in the Wolfson Theatre, London School of Economics and Political Science. 

The backlash against human rights, especially women’s human rights, is systemic, structural and global: women human rights defenders are facing increased risks in their work, women’s sexual and reproductive rights are under threat, violence against women and those targeted for their sexuality or rejection of the gender binary is pandemic. The UN Secretary-General has highlighted how gender ideology, fundamentalisms, militarisation, globalisation and neoliberal policies have sustained the patriarchal and heteronormative power structures that fuel the backlash and undermine gender equality.

The panellists will address the multiple dimensions of the backlash and also consider how it can and must be resisted and how academics, activists and practitioners can work together to build solidarity and entrench past gains and so ‘push back against the push back’. 

Meet the speakers:

  • Hannah Bond has worked with CSOs and government in the UK and Global South. Early in her career she worked for the Women’s National Commission, focusing on Violence against Women and Girls. She has since worked for humanitarian and development NGOs in the UK and Global South and for the British Embassy in Addis Ababa where she worked on Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somaliland. Hannah lived and worked for six years in Ethiopia, specialising in conflict, gender, human rights, community-based development, humanitarian programming and economic empowerment. Hannah has a master’s degree from King’s College London.
  • Professor Bina D’Costa is a Professor at the Department of International Relations, Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University. At the height of Europe’s refugee emergency, she moved to the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti to build its Migration and Displacement program (2016-2018). As a UN staff member, Bina has worked in South and Southeast Asia, Eastern and Southern Africa, and the Middle East. Her research interests span migration, children and conflict, gender, human rights and justice. She has undertaken studies on refugees, stateless communities and IDPs, and has provided inputs and technical advice to Human Rights bodies, UN agencies and NGOs. Most recently, she has served in UNICEF’s Rohingya Emergency Response Team in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh.
  • Dr Fiifi Edu-Afful is a Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Head of the Peace Support Operations Programme at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC). His research focuses on peacekeeping, gender, peace and security, UN/AU/ECOWAS Peace and Security Architectures. Between 2013 and 2014, he served as an Advisory Team Member for the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN peacekeeping. He is currently undertaking research on sexual violence against men and boys. On the Hub, Fiifi is an advisory board member.
  • Dr Choman Hardi is the Director of AUIS’s Center for Gender and Development Studies, and a Co-Director of the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub. Her research focuses on women’s experiences of political violence as well as their role in social and political movements. On the Hub, Choman is researching the role of institutions and practices on the construction of an aggressive and sexually exploitative masculinity which victimises women. The project aims to develop means of develop and promote a culture of non-violence and sensitivity amongst the younger generation of men.
  • Dr Angelika Rettberg is a professor in the Political Science Department at Universidad de los Andes and a Co-Director of the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub. Her research focuses on several aspects of the political economy of armed conflict and peacebuilding, such as the relationship between legal resources, armed conflict, and crime, the dynamics of transitional justice and reconciliation, and business behaviour in contexts of armed conflict and peacebuilding. On the GCRF Hub, Angelika is pursuing a project on the relationship between reconciliation and development, with an initial focus on Colombia.
  • Chair: Professor Christine Chinkin is the former Director of the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security, a Global Law Professor at the University of Michigan and a member of the Bar of England and Wales and Matrix Chambers. She was previously Professor of International Law (LSE). She has authored many articles on international law and human rights law, particularly women’s human rights. She is co-author of The Boundaries of International Law: a Feminist Analysis (2000, with Hilary Charlesworth), The Making of International Law (2007, with Alan Boyle) and of International Law and New Wars (2017 with Mary Kaldor).