Barbara Havelková holds degrees from Charles University in Prague (Mgr - Master in Law; summa cum laude), Europa-Institut of Saarland University (LLM) and the University of Oxford (Mst in Legal Research, DPhil).
Barbara is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law and a Tutorial Fellow at St Hilda's College. She was previously the Shaw Foundation Fellow at Lincoln College and held other posts at the University of Cambridge (Emmanuel College) and Oxford (Balliol). She worked for Clifford Chance Prague, trained at the Legal Service of the European Commission and in the Chambers of AG Poiares Maduro at the Court of Justice of the European Union. She was an academic visitor at several law schools, including Harvard University and University of Michigan as a Fulbright scholar and the Jean Monnet Center of NYU Law School as an Emile Noël Fellow.
Barbara’s research and teaching interests include gender legal studies and feminist jurisprudence, equality and anti-discrimination law, constitutional law, EU law and law in post-socialist transitions. She is a senior member of the Law Faculty's Feminist Jurisprudence Discussion Group. Barbara teaches Constitutional Law, EU Law and Feminist Jurisprudence to undergraduates and Comparative Equality Law on the BCL/MJur programme.
Her book, 'Gender Equality in Law: Uncovering the Legacies of Czech State Socialism', was published by Hart/Bloomsbury in 2017 and received an honourable mention from the judges of the BASEES Women’s Forum Prize for 2019. A volume Barbara co-edited with Mathias Möschel on ‘Anti-Discrimination Law in Civil Law Jurisdictions’ came our with Oxford University Press in 2019.
Barbara has also been active as an expert and an academic in the Czech Republic. Between 2014 and 2017, Barbara acted as an Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic on issues of gender and law. She is the author of a monograph ‘Equality of women and men in remuneration’ (Rovnost v odměňování žen a mužů; Auditorium, 2007), co-author of the leading 'Commentary on the Czech Anti-Discrimination Act' (Antidiskriminační zákon. Komentář, with P Boučková et al; C.H.Beck, 1st edition 2010, 2nd edition 2016) and co-editor and co-author of the edited volume What to do with prostitution? Public policies and the rights of persons in prostitution (Co s prostitucí? Veřejné politiky a práva osob v prostituci, with B Hančilová; SLON, 2014). A collection of essays on gender and the law, 'Men’s Laws: Are Legal Rules Neutral?' (Mužské právo. Jsou právní pravidla neutrální?), which Barbara co-edited and co-authored, came out in 2020 with WoltersKluwer.
- This article explores the justifications for, and objections to, the proposed European Union ‘women on company boards’ Directive. It notes that Member State opposition to the measure had different emphases. The new, post-socialist Member States that intervened prominently questioned the Commission’s understanding of the underlying social reality of gender inequality and the measure’s focus on results, while the old Member States that intervened raised mainly the issue of subsidiarity and challenged the need for legislative action, and/or particularly the need for legislative action at EU level. The article further argues that the Commission weakened its case by emphasising economic rationales for the measure, and submits that a principled justification fits the proposal better. Finally, the article argues that subsidiarity-related arguments are available also to justify non-cross-border, non-economic projects, such as that of gender equality.The chapter shows that the general principle of equality is the pre-eminent doctrine in Czechia. It is more often and more readily applied than ground-related anti-discrimination law by courts and administrative bodies alike, and the two doctrines are often conflated. This is paradoxical, because ground-related anti-discrimination law is distinctive and arguably addresses a graver wrong: while the general principle of equality targets random arbitrariness, irrationality or unfairness, the prohibition of discrimination on specific grounds focuses on oft-repeated, systematic behaviour and practices which track deep historical and/or current disadvantages.The Introduction draws together the chapters’ findings in relation to the two research questions which have animated the project. The first question asked how anti-discrimination law fares in civil law jurisdictions of Europe and how it fits into them. The Introduction notes that while anti-discrimination law is still seen as a foreign transplant and a legal irritant in many places, it does not uniformly fare poorly. Its success varies and appears to depend not only on the country, but also the area of law, the actors involved, a particular concept or ground of discrimination, and has often evolved over time. The second question asked what factors influence anti-discrimination law’s fit or lack of it. ‘Legal’ as well as ‘extra-legal’ aspects seem to favour or hinder anti-discrimination law, but as they are often not always clearly separable and distinguishable, we locate four types of factors on a spectrum. On the legal side, pre-existing legislation and case law have played a role as have institutional choices. Constitutional and legal foundations and narratives, such as the myth of ‘universalism’ in France, have also influenced the success of anti-discrimination law. Finally, the wider political and social context is discussed, noting that the individual, liberty-oriented politics of common law countries, with their greater reflection of issues of cultural recognition, might be more easily compatible with anti-discrimination law, while the more communitarian, collective approach of continental European countries, with their emphasis on dignity and social-welfare solutions to social problems, might be less so.
Edited Book (1)
Journal Article (8)
Gender legal studies and feminist jurisprudence, equality and antidiscrimination law, human rights, labour law, constitutional law, EU law