Staff Directory

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01522 88 6809
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool
United Kingdom

About Sundari Anitha

Having come to the UK from India as an Inlaks scholar, I obtained my PhD from SOAS in 2003 and joined the University of Lincoln in 2010. Prior to that, as Research Fellow at the University of Leeds (2007-2009), I researched South Asian women’s participation in the Grunwick and Gate Gourmet industrial disputes with Prof Ruth Pearson (University of Leeds) and Prof Linda McDowell (University of Oxford). With a Follow-on grant from the AHRC and in collaboration with Ruth Pearson, I drew upon this research to produce resources for non-academic audiences—these include an exhibition on South Asian women’s role in the struggle for workers’ rights in the UK, an educational website aimed at secondary school children which has received over 2.75 million visits, and a two-part comic based on the life stories of women workers we interviewed for our research (see web links on this page). I have recently completed three research projects: a study exploring the medium to long term outcomes for South Asian survivors of domestic violence who had utilised a specialist refuge in England; an action research project on gender-based violence in university communities; and a study of transnational marriage abandonment in India in collaboration with Prof Anupama Roy, JNU, India, funded by the British Academy (see link). Based on the findings of this latter study, and in partnership with Southall Black Sisters and Dawson Cornwall Solicitors, we have persuaded the family justice system to recognise transnational marriage abandonment as a form of domestic abuse as outlined in its revised Practice Direction 12j, which came into force on 2 October 2017. My research interests lie in two areas across the disciplines of Social Policy, Sociology, Criminology and Politics: (i) the problem of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the UK and India; health, social policy and criminal justice responses to this problem; the politics of intersectionality and the connections between violence within homes and outside (race, ethnicity, class, gender, and migration); particular forms of VAWG such as dowry-related abuse, forced marriage, transnational forms of violence such as abandonment of wives, domestic servitude; and gender-based violence in university communities. (ii) Linked to this research is my ongoing interest in issues of gender, race and ethnicity in employment relations; employment experiences of South Asian diasporas in the UK;  organisation of/industrial action by migrant women workers. In between academic jobs, I have previously managed a Women’s Aid refuge and worked as an Advice Worker for Asha Projects, a specialist refuge for survivors of domestic violence. I have been active in campaigns and policy-making on violence against women, including forced marriage. I am currently a trustee of two London-based charities—a specialist refuge for survivors of domestic violence, Asha projects; and ATLEU (anti-trafficking and labour exploitation unit), which provides legal representation to victims of trafficking and labour exploitation.

Department Responsibilities

Module Co-ordinator (level 1 module 'Images of Crime and Criminal Justice'; level 2 module ‘Work and Society’; level 3 module ‘Gender and violence’; and MA module ’Global Issues in Gender and Sexuality’) Director Of Research, School of Social and Political Sciences Member of 'University of Lincoln task force on gender-based violence' Member of the Academic Board

Subject Specialism

violence against women and girls, gender and work, life history methods


  • 1999-2003: PhD in Politics of Culture, SOAS, University of London, UK
  • 1994-1996: MA in Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
  • 1991-1994: BA(Hons) in Political Science, Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, New Delhi, India


Other Scholarly activities:  I am on the editorial board of Women’s Studies International Forum, and a member of the Academic Forum of the Runnymede Trust. I have reviewed articles for journals including Violence Against Women, British Journal of Social Work, Women‘s Studies International Forum, Current Sociology, Gender, Place & Culture, Social Policy & Society, Social Science Journal, Contemporary South Asia, South Asian Diaspora, European Journal of Migration and Law, and Economic and Political Weekly, and have reviewed book proposals for OUP and Zed. I have also reviewed grant applications for the ESRC, British Academy, British Council, and Research Foundation - Flanders (Belgium). I have written expert reports for court cases on issues relating to domestic violence and dowry (please contact me if you wish to discuss a pro bono expert report on domestic violence where appellant does not have legal aid). I have been the Academic Consultant for the Grunwick 40 exhibition at Brent Museum and Archives, Willesden Green Library (19 Oct 2016-26 Mar 2017). I have also acted as consultant to Imkaan (a second tier organisation providing support, advocacy and training to Black and Minority Ethnic refuges), Saheli (a specialist refuge) and Imece Turkish Speaking Women’s Group. As a consultant for Westminster Foundation for Democracy, I have contributed to the drafting of the Arab Convention on Combating Violence Against Women through advising the Coalition for Women Arab MPs who are drafting the Convention. This Convention will be the first regional treaty to protect women from violence in the Middle East and North Africa.

Orcid ID


Research Interests

  • feminist research methods - life histories

  • gender and work in the global economy

  • violence against women and girls

  • gender and migration

Research Projects

  • Surviving domestic violence: Medium to long term outcomes for South Asian women accessing refuge services in England and Wales (2014-15) — awarded £2994 by College Research Fund, University of Lincoln in
  • Stand Together: Challenging gender-based violence through prevention education (2014-15) — awarded £45948 by Research Investment Fund, University of Lincoln in
  • Transnational abandonment: A new form of violence against women? (2013-16) — awarded £29129 by British Academy in
  • Striking Women: South Asian workers’ struggles in the UK labour market (2012-13) — awarded £81042 by Arts and Humanities Research Council in
  • Change Together: A pilot project to tackle forced marriage among university students (2011) — awarded £20000 by Forced Marriage Unit Foreign and Commonwealth Office in

Research in the Lincoln Repository

Professional Affiliations

  • Society for Research into Higher Education
  • Universities against gender-based violence
  • British Sociological Association
  • Law and Social Science Research Network (LASSnet)