War, Law, Terror, Nothing New for Women

By Gardam, Judith | The Australian Feminist Law Journal, June 2010 | Go to article overview

War, Law, Terror, Nothing New for Women


Gardam, Judith, The Australian Feminist Law Journal


1.0 INTRODUCTION

The feminist voice in International Humanitarian Law (IHL), that part of international law that regulates the conduct of armed conflict, has always been relatively muted. This contrasts with the vigorous contribution of feminist scholars in the area of human rights law which has significantly influenced the development and application ofthat regime. Looking back over the years since the initial feminist engagement with IHL, I am disappointed as to how the topic of IHL and women has been avoided by feminist scholars, apart from a seemingly endless focus on sexual violence.1 Admittedly these critiques have contributed to some important advances in the area of international criminal law.2 However, international criminal law deals with enforcement of IHL and surely we should be thinking in terms of trying to prevent these situations that lead to international criminal prosecutions from arising in the first place. There are two possible strategies here, first development of the law and secondly implementation of the existing rules. The focus of this paper is on the latter, that is, respect for the norms of IHL.3

There are many pitfalls to be encountered in engaging with this regime. It contains the quintessential gender male - the warrior, and his essential foil, the weak and powerless woman.4 The female subject of IHL is assumed to have certain 'natural' characteristics, particularly modesty and weakness that help to constitute her honour. All the provisions of IHL dealing with her are based on these two characteristics and the way the regime is interpreted, disseminated and applied reinforces these limiting and destructive gender stereotypes.5 Consequently in arguing for increased respect for the existing, albeit inadequate, rules protecting women one runs the risk of being classified as an old school feminist stuck in the era of regarding women solely as victims rather than according them full agency.6 But engage we must, as in certain situations IHL is the only applicable law and if individuals can come within its scope and access its protections, it has real potential to mitigate the horrors of warfare.

International human rights law is also of increasing importance in the context of armed conflict and has fundamentally influenced the direction and development of IHL.7 Consequently there is now a great deal of overlap between the two regimes and in many circumstances they work to reinforce each other.8 Nevertheless, IHL is the regime specifically designed to deal with the particular circumstances and societal conditions that arise during periods of armed conflict.9 If individuals can fit themselves within one of its recognised categories, such as that of civilian or combatant, it has the potential to be a very effective regime and to achieve outcomes that are not available under the human rights system.10 For example, the IHL law of occupation has a transformative function that authorises and arguably mandates changes to the political and legal framework of the occupied State.11 Some of these may include measures to protect the human rights of women. There is no such parallel function in human rights law. Therefore, IHL warrants sustained feminist engagement.

Against that somewhat pessimistic note, in this paper I continue in a small way the task of uncovering the manner in which discrimination against women manifests itself in the application of IHL.12 I reflect on how the issues that have dominated IHL in the era of the so-called cwar on terror', as illustrated by the 2001 Afghan and 2003 Iraqi invasions, have been shaped by gender considerations.13 I search for explanations as to why so little attention has been paid to the experiences of women during such times. In considering why certain issues have dominated the debate about IHL in the context of the war on terror, I am particularly interested in the extent to which arguments in relation to 'culture' determine the practical outcome of that debate on the ground for men and women. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

War, Law, Terror, Nothing New for Women
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.