Women in Private International Law

19 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2021 Last revised: 22 Apr 2021

See all articles by Mary Keyes

Mary Keyes

Griffith University - Griffith Law School

Date Written: April 26, 2019

Abstract

There has been almost no consideration of the position of women in private international law. There is very little published research applying a feminist analysis to, or even considering the position of women in, private international law. This field gives almost no attention to the particular interests, positions and experiences of women as subjects of the law, or the contribution of women as makers of the law. In the common law, private international law was largely developed in the 19th century, by male judges who were strongly influenced by commentary written exclusively by men. This chapter establishes that the apparently gender-neutral nature of private international law conceals profoundly ingrained assumptions about gender, in which the masculine is represented as a rational and sophisticated businessman, and the feminine is represented as a legally incapable wife. It then considers the gendered dimension of private international law in international family law, referring in particular to the regulation of international child abduction, international family property agreements, and international commercial surrogacy. Each of these examples demonstrates the differential impact of the law on women, indicating the need for greater awareness of and attention to gender. It concludes that while there have been some advances recently, particularly in terms of increased representation of women in making and commenting on private international law, there remains a great need for further research into the position of women as legal subjects and law-makers in this field.

Keywords: Feminism, Private International Law, Conflict of Laws, Women

JEL Classification: K33, K36

Suggested Citation

Keyes, Mary, Women in Private International Law (April 26, 2019). Griffith University Law School Research Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3817113

Mary Keyes (Contact Author)

Griffith University - Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus, GU
Nathan 4111
Australia

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