Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE


Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE


Article excerpt

Christine Chinkin is a barrister and emeritus professor of international law at the London School of Economics. In 2006 she was joint winner of the Goler T. Butcher Medal, awarded by the American Society of International Law for outstanding contributions to the development or effective realisation of international human rights law. In February she was named director of the UK's first academic Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the LSE

Where and when were you born?

1949 in Herne Bay, Kent.

How has this shaped you?

I have been shaped far more by where I have lived since. I lived and worked in the US, Singapore and Australia for 15 years. These different academic and cultural environments shaped my disciplinary outlook and have allowed me to develop a network of colleagues and friends.

As its inaugural director, what are your aims for the centre?

To develop a leading centre for teaching and research on women, peace and security and gender-based violence in armed conflict that combines a strong practical as well as academic perspective. I hope it will become a major hub for activists, opinion formers, policymakers and researchers.

Abuse of women, both physical and psychological, is frequently reported in the UK. Can you quantify how large a problem it is globally?

No - much depends on how abuse is defined, the level of reporting (or under-reporting) and the likelihood of follow-up action. But UK Home Office estimates for 2011-12 are that two women are killed by a partner, ex-partner or lover every week; 1.2 million are victims of domestic abuse; 400,000 women are sexually assaulted or raped; there are 1,500 cases of forced marriage and 66,000 cases of female genital mutilation. The United Nations has termed violence against women a "global pandemic" in diverse forms.

Angelina Jolie Pitt is a vocal advocate for women's rights. What has been her role in the Centre for Women, Peace and Security?

As co-founder with William Hague, Ms Jolie Pitt was instrumental in creating the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative from which the centre was developed. She is a supporter of the centre, as evidenced by her participation in its launch in February.

How grave an issue is gender inequality in the UK?

Inequality, discrimination on the basis of sex and gender, and adverse stereotyping persist throughout all strata of society - through, for instance, unequal participation in public life, through the effects of austerity, through the continued gender pay gap, through the representation of women in the media and the incidence of gender-based violence. …

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