Dr Purna Sen

purna sen




Director of Policy at UN Women

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Dr. Purna Sen is Director of Policy at UN Women where she is responsible for direction, leadership and management of the Policy Division as well as the UN Women Training Centre. She has over 30 years’ experience in capacity building, service delivery and evaluation review, teaching, advocacy and research publishing. 

Her work has included research, publications and activism on violence against women, culture and human rights, trafficking, sexuality and sexual control, human rights,developments, civil society organizing against violence, and social development issues and race equality in the UK. She has consulted with organizations including Article 19 and the British Council, and been on the management and advisory groups of NGOs including the Refugee Women's Resource Project and Southall Black Sisters. Purna was previously a board member of the Kaleidoscope Trust (an LGBT rights charity), RISE (a domestic abuse charity) and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. Prior to UN Women, Purna was Deputy Director of the Institute of Public Affairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where she also taught gender and development. Previously she served as Head of Human Rights for the Commonwealth Secretariat and as Director for the Asia-Pacific Programme at Amnesty International. During the 2015 UK, general election, Purna was a parliamentary candidate for the Brighton Pavilion constituency. She also has a PhD from Bristol University on the subject of Violence Against Women. 

A woman who has inspired me

"When feminism does not explicitly oppose racism and when antiracism does not include opposition to patriarchy, race and gender often end up being antagonistic to each other and both interests lose." - Kimberle Crenshaw

My thoughts on feminism and women’s suffrage

Feminism is for me at least a struggle for new distributions of power, the enlargement of  all women's control over their own lives and bodies, the imagination and building of a world with no violence but much joy and dancing and the ability to hold each other with love and in generosity. Building this reality is an innately political project in every sense but formal politics (for voters and for candidates as well as in parliaments and parties) plays a huge part: the selection and accountability of political representatives, who make decisions that affect us all, is so important. That's why voting, suffrage and safety will always matter.    


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