Faculty of Law

Diversity and Inclusion in the Law, in Conversation with Dr Olivia Rundle

From the ‘Stories of our Law School’ Pod-Cast Series. By Grace Williams.

Dr Olivia Rundle’s co-authored book Sex, Gender, Sexuality and Law brings together the disciplines of social sciences and law to address the social and legal issues that face people of diverse gender and/or sexuality. Olivia and her co-authors were prompted to write this book due to the knowledge gap in service providers in terms of the needs of clients whose bodies, genders, or sexualities differ from social norms.

Dr Rundle is the wellness and graduate research coordinator for the Faculty of Law at UTAS. She is a Senior Lecturer in Civil Procedure. In 2013, she was awarded a LEADR practitioner award for her contributions to the ADR and the professional development of others. Despite all her incredible achievements which she should be celebrated for, there is one not so obvious characteristic that those reading this article can't easily glean. This characteristic is her kindness. Olivia is not only a highly successful scholar she is kind person and a joy to be around.

When I sat down with her to discuss the topic of her new book I was inspired by how much she cared about lawyers and mediators practicing more inclusively. For Olivia, working towards inclusion in the legal profession and in the Law Faculty is a key motivator. Olivia doesn't just write and think about inclusion, she also practises it in her teaching. By creating problem solving hypotheticals for her students that over turn traditional gender roles she engages her students to start thinking about the world in a more diverse way.

In her efforts to raise awareness about the importance of inclusion Dr Rundle has given public lectures to audiences on the mainland. One of those lectures was at Mardi Gras 2017. Her book Sex, Gender, Sexuality and Law has given her an opportunity to be a voice for people who have received, or are afraid they may receive poor services in relation to their conflicts or legal problems. Olivia's book unveils significant issues facing some people in their relationship with the law. In this podcast, we talked about the ‘threat of outing’ and how the public nature of the judicial system may deter people who have a need for privacy about their gender history or sexuality from resolving legal issues in court. Our discussion covered the judicial system and whether it is undermined by its expensive nature.

Olivia is passionate woman who is a social activist at heart. This book is a tool for her to share her values of inclusion for the benefit of the legal profession. Spending time on this podcast demonstrated to me Olivia’s generous and compassionate side. Talking about the ‘Chai and Chat’ sessions organised jointly by staff and TULS revealed her dedication towards promotion of wellness in legal education. Olivia not only cares about her research, she cares about her students. This care highlights the wonderful atmosphere of our Law School which is one of sincere care and compassion towards others.

To keep up with Olivia’s work follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OCRundle

To listen to our conversation:

Published on: 07 Jul 2017 2:33pm