Law academic Andrea Durbach says her secondment as Deputy Sex Discrimination Commissioner is a "wonderful opportunity" to work with the primary national human rights institution to promote and advance equality.

Associate Professor Durbach, director of UNSW's Australian Human Rights Centre, recently took up the role with the Australian Human Rights Commission while Elizabeth Broderick, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, conducts a review of the treatment of women at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and explores strategies and initiatives to improve leadership pathways for women in the Australian Defence Force.

The role continues A/Prof Durbach's prominent career as a human rights advocate. Prior to joining UNSW, she worked as Director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, an independent policy and litigation centre focusing on human rights and public interest matters, and as a human rights defender in South Africa.

"The appointment offers a wonderful opportunity to bring together my experience as a human rights practitioner and more recently as an academic to concentrate on issues of critical human rights promotion and protection," A/Prof Durbach said.

Her main focus will be to support the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, to implement the Gender Equality Blueprint 2010, which identifies five priority areas for addressing sex discrimination and promoting gender equality in Australia, including preventing violence against women and sexual harassment, and strengthening national gender equality laws.

During the six-month secondment, A/Prof Durbach will continue her work at the UNSW Law School.

She says she'd like to use her dual roles as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on student issues, "building an awareness of equality in the workplace and respect for the rights of women more broadly".

For more information on the Gender Equality Blueprint 2010, go to the AHRC Sex Discrimination website.

Media contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media | 02 9385 8107 |