Violence against women’s health in international law – Q&A with Sara De Vido

Posted by - Wednesday, 17 Jun 2020


How would you like someone who has read your book to sum it up in one sentence?

This book uses the Hippocratic paradigm in international law to conceive the innovative concept of violence against women’s health, which encompasses two dimensions of violence – the violation of the right to health is a consequence of violence as much as (State) health policies might be a cause of – or create the conditions for – violence against women, and reconceptualises states’ obligations in the field.

What books in your field have inspired you the most?

Erin Nelson’s Law, Policy and Reproductive Autonomy, Ronli Sifris’ Reproductive Freedom, Torture and International Human Rights and Christine Chinkin and Hilary Charlesworth’s The boundaries of international Law.

Did your research take you to any unexpected places?

Yes, indeed, I did not imagine to be able to apply the Hippocratic paradigm to international law and to conceive a form of gender-based violence characterised by states’ policies in the field of health.

Which writing process do you use (computer, longhand, dictate, other)?

Laptop. I wrote this book in different places: Venice, Manchester, Tokyo, Boston, Berlin, the Dolomites, on board of planes as well as in libraries in many parts of the world, in busy airport lounges as well as in quiet places surrounded by nature. My laptop always with me.

Why did you choose to publish with MUP?

Because of the prestigious series Melland Schill Studies in International Law. Having spent some time at the Manchester International Law Centre, where two of the editors work, I have decided to submit my book proposal to this important series, which also includes the pioneering book by Chinkin and Charlesworth: The boundaries of international law.

What are you working on now?

I am working partly on related issues, in particular violence against women as a consequence of both the pandemic and the measures in response to it, and partly on different but extremely connected issues, namely environmental human rights.

If you could go back and give yourself once piece of advice when starting out on this project, what would it be?

Stay in the discipline (international law) but do not be afraid to take unexpected directions.

If you could have been the author of any book, what would it be and why?

I do not fancy to have written others’ book. I think that every book that was written was created because of an intersection of elements, including the individual, the environment, the moment of history.

What other genres do you enjoy reading?

As for literature, I like crime stories and historical novels. I also like reading about travels to curious places in the world, and I love reading stories of women that in different moments of history determined a change.

Which authors (academic and not) would you invite to a dinner party?

I will invite all the scholars that I have met in three years, who contributed to the ideas of the book. Quite a few! I will also invite Jonathan Coe and Margaret Atwood as non-academic. And it would be a vegan dinner.



Violence against women’s health in international law by Sara De Vido is available to buy now.

Sara De Vido is Associate Professor of International Law at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy, and affiliate to the Manchester International Law Centre


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