Professor Sunita Toor

Tell us about your contribution that has been recognised through the professorship.Prof. Sunita Toor

My chair in Human Rights and Gender Justice Practice has been recognised for its outstanding contribution to External and Professional Engagement (E&PE). This reflects my outstanding contribution to combatting gender-based violence and changing the landscape of promoting and protecting human rights at local, national, and international levels across the justice sector. My work has been embedded in a human rights pedagogy that promotes the rule of law and access to justice through capacity building, collaboration, and knowledge transfer across different cultural and international contexts.

The professorship has recognised:

  • My leading international status as a dynamic human rights and gender justice educator and facilitator in developing nations.
  • My global recognition as an influential applied academic whose work shapes and impacts policy and practice across the justice sector.
  • My key innovations in developing sustainable, high impact and empowering human rights curricula.

I have spearheaded the growth of applied projects, initiatives, and events to build the reputation of the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice (HKC). I have established an international reputation for delivering high quality, collaborative, innovative, and applied work that fuses academia, policy and practice. I have led work in the UK, India, Bahrain and America, which has enhanced HKC’s profile as a global centre of excellence.

My work in India to combat gender-based violence has been a key highlight of my career to date. Justice For Her has received international coverage where I have been interviewed by many media outlets including BBC World News who did a comprehensive segment on my work in India (2019). Justice For Her has been covered by news outlets across India, Radio France, Daily Times (India), The Nation (Pakistan), The News Today (India), Gulf Today, Digital Journal (Canada), Yahoo News (Australia, Singapore, and UK), Mail Online, News Asia, France24, Bangladesh Daily Star, Saudi Gazette and many more. Justice For Her has been profiled in 22 different countries as an example of how to develop and transform police practice in combatting gender-based violence.

What does it mean personally to you to be a professor Sheffield Hallam?

Being a professor is a platform to do more of the work I am passionate about, which is protecting and championing the human rights, especially those of women and girls in the Global South.

Tell us a bit about your career story so far.

I am a British born Indian, second generation and the first of my family to go to University. I am an inter-disciplinary academic activist who has fused together the social sciences, philosophy, human rights, and law with on the ground practice and activism to create a unique career which has really been nurtured in the HKC. I belong in this centre as it is committed to transforming lives, leaving a legacy of sustainable and positive impact through the work we do – be it working with students, clients, communities or across the justice sector.

I started out my career post PhD as a researcher and then worked as consultant as well as a lecturer. I’ve done an array of roles that have all helped contribute to my learning and career development.

If you could go back in time and give yourself some career advice, what would it be?

Be a chatterer, connect, really listen, ask questions and be curious. Say yes to opportunities that come along and explore different areas that interest you. It’s okay if you don’t have a plan. Go with what intrigues and interests you.

What’s next? Tell us about how you want to further develop your contribution.

The mission to do more work to protect and champion human rights continues! I’m open to opportunities that advance this mission. I’m focused, committed, passionate and hopeful – and I’m in a great centre to do this work.