I'm a Professor in International Development Studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. My research interests are in:
  • ending violence against women and girls
  • promoting social inclusion (including gender, disability and mental health)
  • harmful cultural practices (including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage and breast ironing)

I'm an applied social anthropologist working in international development. My recent research on women, work and violence in South Asia shows, for the first time, a path towards a gender-equal future in South Asia.


In 2018 I was awarded almost £300,000 of funding from the British Academy to pursue my project ‘Art Heritage, Resilience and Humanitarianism in South Sudan’. The project aims to find new ways to build reliance as part of the wider humanitarian programming. I've also worked as part of the Free Sudan from FGM programme.

I've published 4 monographs, 2 edited volumes and many journal articles. My most recent volume is titled 'Global Perspectives on Violence against Women and Girls' (2020 Zed Press).


I joined the University of Portsmouth as a Lecturer in September 2011, and was promoted to Professor in September 2017.

I began my academic career with a degree in Politics and the Study of Religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London in 1996. In 1997, I completed an MA in Social Anthropology of Development at SOAS.

Following my MA, I completed a PGCE at the University of Cambridge, before returning to SOAS for my PhD. My thesis, "Challenging the NGOs: Women, Religion and Western Dialogues in India", was published as a book by Bloomsbury Academic in 2006.

I've also worked as a Tutor in International Development Studies at the University of East Anglia, a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at London Metropolitan University, and a Lecturer of Gender Studies at the University of London.

I'm currently working with Plan International on a project working to end violence against children in South Sudan. 

I've also worked on various projects with Stop Domestic Abuse in Havant. I recently released a report in collaboration with the charity and the Home Office.

Research interests

My main research interest is in ending violence against women and girls

In collaboration with research networks, NGOs and affected communities, I'm involved in projects seeking to end:

  • female genital mutilation (FGM) in Sudan
  • breast ironing in West and Central Africa
  • rape, harassment and dowry-related violence in India
  • violence against women generally in South Sudan
  • direct links between women, violence and displacement in Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar
  • links between women, work and violence in Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan

My research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy.

Teaching responsibilities

I lecture on various units within the Development Studies courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Portsmouth.

PhD supervision

I'm happy to supervise Masters and PhD students. I currently supervise 2 students (on Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) PhD studentships) on a project around FGM in Africa.

I welcome enquiries and applications from Masters and PhD students in areas related to or combining:

  • areas of violence against women and girls
  • harmful culture practices
  • gender and social inclusion in South Asia and Africa
  • harmful culture practices
  • domestic abuse

Media availability

I'm happy to take calls and emails from the media on my research, and am aware of the need to respond to journalists in a timely manner. You can contact me by email at or +44 (0)23 9284 6143.