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University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies


Sharmila Parmanand 2Gates Cambridge International Scholarship

Critical inquiry into Anti-Trafficking discourse in the Philippines

Supervisor: Dr Tomas Larsson, Department of Politics and International Studies


My research focuses on the anti-human trafficking ecosystem in the Philippines. In particular, I look closely at the policy-making process, the relationships among international funders, the state, and civil society actors, the knowledge claims made about women in vulnerable employment situations and how these claims are negotiated and produced, and finally, the effects of interventions such as raids and rescue operations on their target populations, especially sex workers. With my work, I hope to give primacy to the experiences of individuals directly affected by these interventions and contribute to the ongoing conversation about how best to uphold their agency and human rights.


Gates Scholar (

M.A. Gender and Development, University of Melbourne (Australian Leadership Award Scholarship)

 B.A. Political Science, Major in Global Politics, with distinction, Ateneo de Manila University (Academic Scholarship)

Publications and Conferences:

Parmanand Sharmila (2014), ‘Mapping the path to Philippine reproductive rights legislation: Signs of progress amidst obstacles’, Social Transformations: Journal of the Global South, Vol 2, No 1, pp 61–80.

Microcredit and motherhood: An inquiry into the effect of Filipino women’s engagement with microcredit on their household relations presented at the Biennial Australian Women’s and Gender Studies Conference (University of New South Wales, 2012) and the Australian Sociological Association Annual Conference (University of Queensland, 2012).

Willing victims and benevolent headhunters: An inquiry into the dynamics of human trafficking presented at the 8th International Conference on Philippine Studies (Manila, July 2008).

The woman who cried rape: Nicole, discourses of nationalism, and the politics of resistance presented at the Philippine Political Science Association International Conference (April 2007).

Other interests:

I am also an international debating consultant and I have worked as a debate coach or trainer in 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Palestine.