The Feminist Legal Studies Group grew organically out of a reading group in 2016, when we discovered that many of the Law Faculty, from very different areas of law, drew upon feminist perspectives. Our research includes, for example: family law and the impact on women of family violence, feminist perspectives on health care law, human trafficking and human rights, reproductive health, abortion reform, women’s economic empowerment, public law, commercial law, taxation law, copyright reform, environmental law, legal practice, conceptions of legal personality and feminist legal theory.
This has produced fertile ground for the development of work that not only cuts across different legal disciplines but also involves outside engagement with user groups such as those concerned with family violence, immigration and refugee groups, health care and environmentalism. We are therefore keen to continue to develop a range of existing links with activists as well as academics and feminist legal studies centres internationally, along with the legal profession. We also recognise that many students at Monash are interested in social justice and equality; that as academics we have a duty to respect and encourage such commitments in both future lawyers and future citizens by the development of courses that include feminist perspectives.
Our vision is to make a difference to the lives of women through understanding the subordination of women and contributing to law and policy reform. We do so through our research and teaching, reading groups, a speaker program, conferences and a rich engagement with the wider community.
The Feminist Legal Studies Group has been funded until late 2019, with the aim of becoming Australia's first feminist legal studies centre. The group has identified 6 areas of expertise which are our priority research areas. Our feminist academics have created disciplinary groups in these priority research areas, with a disciplinary group leader chosen. The groups are:
- Family violence. Leader: Renata Alexander;
- Alcohol, drugs and gender. Leader: Kate Seear;
- The impact of energy policy/climate change upon women. Leader: Rowena Cantley-Smith;
- Women's economic empowerment (including labour rights, taxation, unpaid work, privacy). Leaders: Kathryn James and Heli Askola;
- Women, poverty and international movement. Leader: Azadeh Dastyari;
- Reproductive health and abortion reform: Leaders: Ronli Sifris and Tania Penovic.