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Brunel Law School Athena Swan

Brunel Law School is a proud holder of an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of its activities and practices in relation to the Athena Swan Equality Charter.

The Athena SWAN award is conferred on departments who recognise that, whilst they operate many excellent practices, they are willing to do even more to support women working and studying in the department. We are now commited to an ongoing three-year action plan to further implement strategies to increase further our gender equality practices.  

Support for you: 

  • Aurora Programme is for women in academic, research or professional services who would like to develop their career and explore the avenues to leadership.

  • Supporting your professional development - our internal Staff Development Team deliver an exciting learning and development programme to support your personal and professional development. 

  • Brunel Mentoring Network can provide you with a mentor to help you focus on your career or personal goals.


Dr Christine Riefa appointed to the ICPT Committee of the World Tourism Organisation

Dr. Christine Riefa from Brunel Law School has been appointed to a specialized agency of the United Nations, World Tourism Organisation. She is a member of Consultative Group of Experts of the Committee for the development of an International Code for the Protection of Tourists (the “ICPT Committee”).

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Dr. Hayleigh Bosher submits evidence on influence culture to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Dr. Hayleigh Bosher, Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law at Brunel, recently submitted evidence on influence culture to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

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Professor named UN Special Rapporteur in rare double for Brunel

Brunel Law School’s Professor Alexandra Xanthaki has been elected as the United Nations' new Special Rapporteur, giving the school the rare distinction of having two academics working in the prestigious role at the same time.

Prof Xanthaki will take on the role of UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, joining her colleague Professor Javaid Rehman, who was elected as Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran in 2018.

The announcement was made at the 48th Regular Session of the UN’s Human Rights Council.

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First woman appointed Divisional Lead for Private and Commercial Law at Brunel Law School

Professor Jurgita Malinauskaite was appointed as a Divisional Lead for Private and Commercial Law at Brunel Law School in September 2021. She is the first women to be appointed to this role since the Law School became a self-standing Department in August 2017. This is in line with our Athena Swan tasks to improve women representation at managerial level. 

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Our Bodies, Our War’: Female Combatants, Constructions of Womanhood, and Weaponized Sexual Violence in Tigray, Ethiopia

Research seminar with Chessie Baldwin
Chair: Dr Ermioni Xanthopoulou, Brunel Law School

Liminal categories of gender and war have collided in the complex history of Tigray, Ethiopia. In a region which has witnessed devastating conflict thrice in the past fifty years, women’s experiences of violence and militancy are critical evidence of the inextricably gendered landscape of warfare, yet their voices remain underexplored or misrepresented. This paper seeks to historicise women’s participation in conflict arenas in Tigray since the 1974-1991 civil war through to the ongoing Tigray War, begun in November 2020. It will draw on original oral history interviews with former fighters, activists, and survivors of violence in Tigray and the diaspora to revise representations of female engagement in war.

The paper will first explore the unique and intricate history of female combatants in Tigray, and their pivotal contributions to the populist revolution which overthrew the Derg regime in 1991. Unpacking expressions of self and positioning within hierarchies of militarism, this paper will argue that tegadelti (fighter, struggler women) re-negotiated representations of womanhood in Tigray. The legacies of women’s involvement as combatants will be used to present the hitherto unexplored possibility that the strategic use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in Tigray in the past ten months is related to the history of female fighters in the civil war. In addition, the correlation between conflict-related sexual violence and mobilisation will be critically analysed in light of evidence from a new generation of Tigrayan female fighters, in the broadest sense of the term. By placing the extreme violence against women in the Tigray War in its historical and regional context, this paper will ultimately put forward the argument that the perpetration of rape and sexual violence in this conflict constitutes an act of genocide.

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