COVID-19 and Gender-Based Violence

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Event Details

1 December 2020 at 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Online - Melbourne time
Global Business


The COVID-19 pandemic has not only caused widespread economic hardships and enhanced social stresses, but has also had a distinctly gendered impact, exacerbating the effects of pre-existing toxic social norms and gender inequalities.

Reports show that since the pandemic, there has been an upsurge of gender-based violence (GBV) in both developed and developing countries. Lockdowns and movement restrictions, in particular, have enhanced risks for women and girls as GBV occurs most commonly in the victim's own home.

In the latest ‘COVID-19 and Beyond’ webinar series, the Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability (CDES), in collaboration with BRAC, has gathered a panel of international experts to discuss the issues and challenges posed by this increase in GBV, and explore policy options and strategies to prevent and respond to GBV.

This webinar will be hosted by Professor Asad Islam, Director of CDES, and moderated by Professor Jacqui True, Director of the Centre for Gender, Peace and Security, Monash University.


Professor Ashwini Deshpande

Ashwini Deshpande is Professor of Economics and Founding Director of the Centre for Economic Data and Analysis (CEDA), Ashoka University, India. While her PhD and early publications were on the international debt crisis and related macroeconomic issues, her subsequent work has been on the economics of discrimination and affirmative action, with a focus on caste and gender issues in India.

She has published extensively in leading scholarly journals and edited several books. She is the author of Grammar of Caste: Economic Discrimination in Contemporary India (2011) and Affirmative Action in India (2013). She is the editor of Boundaries of Clan and Color: Transnational Comparisons of Inter-Group Disparity (with William Darity, Jr., 2003); Globalization and Development: A Handbook of New Perspectives (2007); Capital Without Borders: Challenges to Development (2010); and Global Economic Crisis and the Developing World (with Keith Nurse, 2012).

Barrister Jenefa Jabbar

Jenefa Jabbar is Director of Human Rights and Legal Aid Services (HRLS) and Social Compliance at BRAC - largest non-governmental development organisation in the world. The HRLS programme provides support to vulnerable women and children in the community who have been victims of domestic violence and violence in the community through 408 Legal Aid Clinics. She also chairs the Sexual Harassment Committee and is legal adviser to the Safeguarding team at BRAC, where she provides safeguarding training and support to educational institutions, workplaces and manufacturing industries.

Prior to joining BRAC, she worked as the Regional Responsible Sourcing Director for JCPenney Purchasing Corporation overseeing South Asia, Middle East and Africa. She has over 22 years of experience in working with renowned organizations such as BRAC University, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labour Organization (ILO), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and Dr. Kamal Hossain & Associates.

Dr Naomi Pfitzner

Dr Naomi Pfitzner is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre at Monash University. She joined the centre in 2019 after completing her PhD at Melbourne University in 2016. Following her PhD, Naomi was appointed as a postdoctoral researcher with the Gendered Violence and Abuse Research Alliance (GeVARA) at RMIT University.

Naomi conducts research in the area of family violence, gender, family studies, social policy and law. Her doctoral research examined men’s engagement with intimate partner violence primary prevention programs. She has been a part of several systems and practice evaluations of work aimed at reducing family violence and promoting gender equality at both a state and federal level. Naomi is currently leading a research project investigating gender-based violence and help-seeking behaviours during COVID-19.


Professor Jacqui True

Jacqui True is Professor of International Relations and Director of Monash University’s Centre for Gender, Peace and Security (Monash GPS). Monash GPS aims to contribute globally-recognised, gender-inclusive research evidence, education and training to deliver peace and security globally in partnership with governments and non-governmental organisations. She is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow and a Global Fellow, Peace Research Institute (PRIO), Oslo.

Her research interests are in women's peace participation, gender-based violence in situations of conflict and crisis, and gender and preventing violent extremism. She is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security (2019) and Violence against Women: What Everyone Needs to Know (2020).

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