Feminism and International Law: Twenty Years after Charlesworth, Chinkin, and Wright
10 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2013
Date Written: June 9, 2011
The year 1991 saw the publication of Hilary Charlesworth, Christine Chinkin, and Shelley Wright's ‘Feminist Approaches to International Law’ in the American Journal of International Law. This event was by no means the first feminist engagement with the field, but it marked feminism's entrance through the front door of the international legal academic establishment.
Since then, feminist approaches have become a permanent feature of the discipline, with references in textbooks, panels and groups in ASIL and ESIL meetings, and even some book length treatises. Beyond academia, gender and women’s issues have remained a regular item on the international political and judicial agenda. Though the feminist program is by no means exhausted, it would seem that the history of feminist engagements with international law constitutes a veritable success story, as well as a story in which a theoretical intervention has had an enormous practical impact; think of the role of gender in international human rights, international criminal law, and in normative discourses about good governance, among others.
This presentation interrogates this apparent success, but also goes beyond the oft made observation that feminism has in fact remained a marginal or ‘ghettoized’ feature in international legal scholarship. Rather, he wants to approach this story of the simultaneous success and marginalization of feminism as a way to understand some of the more general features of international legal scholarship and practice in the last 20 years.
Keywords: international law, feminism, critical legal studies, new approaches to international law
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