Co-Directors

Jim Fitzgerald 

Jim Fitzgerald
Jim Fitzgerald joined the Equal Rights Trust in 2009, after four years working for a political party in the United Kingdom. Prior to his appointment as Co-Director in 2016, Jim developed and led the Trust’s advocacy programme and our work in supporting equality movements. Jim has advocated on a wide range of equality issues at both the domestic and international level and has supported advocacy initiatives by the organisation’s partners.


Jim has established and managed projects in dozens of countries, and developed partnerships with organisations working to further the cause of equality on four continents. He also helped to develop the Equal Rights Trust Country Report series and has authored or edited many of the reports in the series. In addition, Jim is one of the Trust’s expert trainers in equality law, with a particular focus on training civil society actors on how to document discrimination and undertake advocacy on equality issues.

Jim has a background in political advocacy and communications. Prior to joining the Trust, Jim spent four years working for the Liberal Democrats in a variety of roles in campaigns, parliament and most recently working for a local authority. Jim holds an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) from the University of Sheffield. 

Joanna Whiteman

Joanna Whiteman
Joanna Whiteman joined the Equal Rights Trust in June 2012. Prior to her appointment as Co-Director in 2016, she was responsible for the Trust’s litigation and resource development programmes and is also one of the Trust’s expert equality trainers. Joanna advises and supports lawyers litigating discrimination cases at the national, regional and international levels. She is also responsible for the Trust’s third party interventions. Joanna is Editor of the Equal Rights Review and has researched and drafted a number of Trust publications including Economic and Social Rights in the Courtroom: Using Equality Strategies to Advance Socio-Economic Rights. Joanna has provided training to NGOs and lawyers on numerous topics including equality and non-discrimination, discriminatory torture and strategic litigation in fifteen countries. 


Joanna is a qualified employment lawyer and, prior to joining the Trust, she spent four years working at an international law firm in London. In this role Joanna litigated employment discrimination cases and acted pro bono for NGOs on matters of equality, employment and human rights law.

Joanna holds an LLM (Master of Laws) from the University of Cambridge and an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) from the University of Nottingham. She wrote her LLM thesis on the Equality Act 2010 and her LLB thesis on cultural relativism and the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. Alongside her work at the Trust, Joanna continues to publish articles on matters of equality and non-discrimination.