School of Law, Gender and Media

Professor Fareda Banda

Key information

School of Law, Gender and Media Professor of Law School of Law, Gender and Media REF Coordinator School of Law, Gender and Media Deputy Exam Board Chair Centre of African Studies Management Committee Member Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies Member
BL, LLB (Zimbabwe), DPhil (Oxon)
Senate House
Email address
Telephone number
+44 (0)207 898 4664
Support hours
Tuesdays 13:30-14:30 (in person)
Fridays 11:00-12:00 (by appointment - may be online)


Fareda Banda holds two law degrees from the University of Zimbabwe where she won the university book prize for graduating in the top three.

She was awarded a Beit Fellowship to Oxford University and a Livingstone Scholarship to Cambridge. She took the Beit and went to Oxford where she was elected President of the graduates of her College and completed her doctorate on access to justice for women within 3-years. Thereafter she worked for the Law Commission of England and Wales before being awarded a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship which enabled her to return to Oxford as a post-doctoral research fellow.

Fareda joined SOAS in 1996. She has convened and taught English family law, human rights of women and law and society since then. She has also contributed to various courses including Alternative Dispute Resolution, Law and Development, Law and Development in Africa and Legal Systems of Asia and Africa. She has supervised PhD theses on topics including children’s rights sexual violence against women, post-conflict reconstruction and gender. Fareda sits on several academic journal boards.

Fareda loves teaching and has been invited to lecture in a number of jurisdictions including: Onati, Oslo, Harare, Kampala, Strasbourg, Bayreuth, Pretoria, Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Vienna (for the CEU) and Zaragoza. She was awarded a visiting scholarship by St Johns College, Oxford, and has held visiting appointments in Onati and Harare. Fareda was appointed a Hauser Global Visiting Professor by NYU in 2009 and 2014.

She has been commissioned to produce reports on diverse topics for agencies. This includes UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Project on a Mechanism to Address Laws that Discriminate against Women, 6 March 2008. This report built on the work of Equality Now post Beijing agenda and was key to the setting up of a UN Working Group on Laws and Practices that Discriminate against Women.

Her co-authored report (with John Eekelaar) on International Conceptions of Family Law, was commissioned by UN Women for their biennial report "Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World.” Other consultancy work has included for the German Technical Agency for Development (GTZ), Minority Rights Group (with Christine Chinkin). Fareda has advised the government of Namibia on law reform and drafted a Law Reform Plan and functioned as an election observer for the Carter Centre.

She believes strongly in the importance of working with civil society organisations. She has been a trustee of Womankind Worldwide, FORWARD and Sisters for Change. She was also on the advisory council of Women’s Link Worldwide. She is currently a trustee of National Life Stories. She sits on Human Rights Watch policy committee as well as the advisory committee of Human Rights Watch Africa.

Fareda has participated in many expert group meetings on topics including children’s rights, women’s rights, the Sustainable Development Goals, the right to water and family law. She has peer-reviewed and contributed to the output of several organisations including Centre for Reproductive Rights, Equality Now, the World Bank, The African Commission, FORWARD, NORAD, Danish Institute for Human Rights, WLSA and Women's Link Worldwide. Fareda has also assisted Amnesty International, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Interights, Forum for Marriage, local authorities and provided expert opinions for use in courts.

Key publications

  • Women's Rights and Religious Law: Domestic and International Perspectives (Routledge, 2020).
  • African Migration, Human Rights and Literature. African Migration, Human Rights and Literature (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020). 

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Mrs Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode The Suicide Bombing Girls of Boko Haram; Between State and Structural Violence
Ms Noemí Pérez Vásquez Breaking the silence: women’s access to transitional justice


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