Julia Zulver

Latin America gender justice researcher

Region(s): Latin America
Country of focus: Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico
Based in Mexico City

Julia Zulver (@JZulver) is a political sociologist whose research focuses on how and why women pursue gender justice in high-risk contexts. She centres on the struggles of women’s rights leaders and community activists engaging in grassroots mobilization in Colombia. In other research projects, she has investigated the dynamics of gender-based violence in the Colombia-Venezuelan borderlands.

Her book High-Risk Feminism in Colombia: Women’s Mobilization in Violent Contexts was published in 2021 by Rutgers University Press.

Julia is also a Senior Researcher at Ladysmith, a feminist research consultancy, where she has contributed to research and reports that collect, analyse, and take action on gender data. She is the Head of Field Operations for Cosas de Mujeres, a project that leverages Whatsapp technology to collect actionable data on gender-based violence in Cúcuta, Cartagena, and Bucaramanga, Colombia.

South America is experiencing one of the largest mass migrations in recent history. And women along the Colombia-Venezuela border are experiencing extraordinary levels of gender-based violence. Cosas de Mujeres connects women with services and generates action-oriented data.

Julia also has  experience working in El Salvador and Mexico. Her approach to research is interdisciplinary, drawing on sociology, transitional justice studies, social movements studies, and gender studies. She earned her DPhil in Sociology in 2018 (Oxford), and her MPhil in Latin American Studies in 2014 (Oxford).

Since 2018, Julia has undertaken in-depth fieldwork along the Venezuelan border, in la Guajira, Norte de Santander, and Arauca, where she researched dynamics of gender-based violence in contexts of both mass migration from Venezuela and reconfiguring armed conflict in Colombia since the signing of peace accords in 2016 between the government and the FARC rebels.

She is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas (UNAM, Mexico) and the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (Oxford, UK). Her three-year research project is entitled: High Risk Leadership in Latin America: Women’s Pursuit of Gender Justice in Violent Contexts.

She has published research in journals including International Feminist Journal of Politics, Third World Quarterly, Latin American Perspectives, Gender, Place, and Culture, and Gender and Development. She believes that it is important to use research and commentary to bring a feminist lens to debates about security and conflict. Examples of this work can be found in the Monkey Cage (The Washington Post), the Guardian, LASA Forum, NACLA Report on the Americas, Ms Magazine, and justiceinfo.net (Oxford Transitional Justice Research). She has undertaken research for the Centre for Reproductive Rights, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, Impunity Watch, and the Overseas Development Institute.