Meet our founder, Emma Fulu


Emma Fulu Panel by Beth Jennings Photography_web.jpg

Emma’s story…

Emma Fulu is the founder and director of The Equality Institute. A global expert on violence against women and girls, Emma has a PhD from the University of Melbourne and has worked all over the world including for the United Nations and other large global programs dedicated to the prevention of violence against women and girls.

In 2014, Emma’s career took her to South Africa to lead one of the largest global programmes to prevent violence against women and girls in low-, and middle-income countries. In tow, she had her 4-month-old twins who she was still breastfeeding, her two-and-a-half-year-old toddler and her husband who, at this time, had taken on the role of primary carer. In the midst of a seriously intense period of travel, alongside a severe sinus infection, Emma burnt out. And she made one of the hardest decisions of her life – to resign from her job, with no employment in sight, pack up their lives and move back to Melbourne. In doing so, she was forced to reassess her life and she recognised that her commitment to the rights of women and girls did not have to come at the expense of her health. 

So, in 2015, Emma founded The Equality Institute. 

Drawing upon over a decade of experience in the field, Emma recognised a global need for more research and programmes, of higher quality, to prevent violence against women and girls. She also knew that there was a need for organisations and programmes in this space to take an overtly feminist stance and intersectional approach to this work, and so The Equality Institute was born. 

What started as an idea between Emma and two staff members sitting at a dining room table has grown to an organisation with a global staff, who have worked in 13 countries and counting, across government, humanitarian, development, corporate and creative sectors. We believe that in order for practitioners, researchers and advocates working in prevention to drive real change, they must also look after themselves. The Equality Institute is built on a culture of respect, wellbeing, self-care and boundaries, that enables people to prioritise their wellbeing and individual needs, alongside work and advocating for social change.

Today, Emma leads the team at the EQI (who enjoy weekly yoga sessions), presents widely on gender issues and has been published in various high-level journals including The Lancet. She sits on a number of boards and advisory groups including, but not limited to, The Leadership Council of The Global Women’s Institute (GWI) at The George Washington University in Washington D.C., Gender Advisory Panel (Geneva), Women, War Trauma and Peacebuilding Advisory Board at Uppsala University (Sweden) and Ministerial Council on Women’s Equality (Vic, Australia).

She is the author of Domestic Violence in Asia: Globalization, Gender and Islam in the Maldives and also blogs for the Huffington Post UK. In her spare time, Emma writes about motherhood, feminism and creativity in her personal blog, I Am Not Superwoman.