Universiteit Leiden

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Personal development

Travelers defense course for female staff members

In spite of the many conquests that the feminist movement has achieved in the past few decades in both the Global North and the Global South, the reality of many female fieldwork researchers representing Leiden University in different parts of the world is that they are faced with situations that directly involve local gendered perspectives. These challenges include a wide spectrum of complexity, from micro-violent practices to outright physical aggression.

4 sessions, taking place on 28 March, 4 April, 11 April and 18 April
From 17.15 until 18.45 hours
University Sports Center Leiden

In this context, Leiden University is offering a course for female* staff members who are disadvantaged or vulnerable according to gendered norms within their fieldwork/research settings. The aim of this training is to first enhance the confidence of participants before, during, and after their interactions with local stakeholders. Then, it will focus on strengthening and developing a specific set of skills to prevent, recognize, manage, and solve- when possible- potentially risky situations.

Each class is divided in two parts; the first part is mainly theoretical and will target self-confidence building, using discussions and experiences to explore these topics. The second part is focused on physical self-defense and consists of learning practical skills that may be used to prevent, de-escalate, and solve situations, or to place boundaries. No prior experience in self-defense courses is necessary.


  • You are a staff member of Leiden University (including PhDs, Assistant/Guest Researchers, and Postdocs)
  • You are female, female presenting, or belong to a disadvantaged or vulnerable group according to gendered norms
  • Those who conduct fieldwork or travel for their research will be prioritized

Dates and times

The defense course consists of 4 sessions which will take place on the following Tuesdays: 28 March, 4 April, 11 April and 18 April, from 17.15 until 18.45 at the University Sports Center. You can optionally join for a group dinner afterward at the USC sportscafé.


Please note that there is a maximum of 12 participants for this defense course, so if you are interested in enrolling, complete this registration form and email it to sportcentrum@usc.leidenuniv.nl as soon as possible. The course is funded by Leiden University.

*This is a pilot project that stemmed from the reports of female researchers facing challenging situations in the field. The project may be later extended to other focus groups who also face difficulties drawing from their identity.

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