Dr Meghan Campbell

When women seek to vindicate their right to equality, states frequently argue that the breach of the right is regrettable but justified. Courts are tasked with balancing the value of equality against the benefits of competing public interests. For example, the US Supreme Court had to determine whether limiting women’s access to contraception could be justified to protect religious freedom.

While there is a wealth of scholarship exploring women’s equality, and on the justifications for limiting rights, there is little discussion of the function of justification in either dismantling or preserving women’s inequality.

The project will investigate how courts disentangle the state’s claim that is can limit women’s equality. Meghan will aim to understand whether justification is being used to shield the state’s choice from scrutiny or to illuminate the severity of women’s inequality. She will seek to develop a new normative approach to adjudicating limits on women’s equality. As well as seeking to explore the untapped potential to centre a transformative conception of equality to the application of justification criteria.

It will ask whether transformative equality protects against the state’s justification rationales being accepted at face-value. Could give the court tools to identify limitation arguments that are illogical, implausible, unfair and rooted in gendered stigmas.

I am humbled and thrilled to be awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship and very, very grateful for all the support from so many in reading drafts of the application, providing helpful feedback and supporting me during the application process.

Dr Meghan Campbell - Reader in International Human Rights Law, University of Birmingham

The British Academy has awarded over £6.5 million in Mid-Career Fellowships to 43 outstanding mid-career academics whose research will promote public engagement with, and understanding of, the SHAPE disciplines.

These awards recognise researchers who have achieved distinction as excellent communicators and ‘champions’ in their fields. The Mid-Career Fellowships, worth a maximum of £160,000 each, will free researchers from normal teaching and administrative commitments, enabling them to pursue a major piece of research that advances understanding in their subject area.