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Feminist approaches to international law state that the law is sexed and gendered and are broadly concerned with (albeit varying definitions of) equality. This theme has then been taken up in various ways across the different areas of international law, from sovereignty, to international human rights law, to the law on the use of force, international economic law, development, the environment, etc… A short summary of the scholarship in a few of these areas can be found on this website under the section ‘Feminist analysis of International Law.’

Many different, and sometimes contradictory methods have been used by different scholars. This has included, for example, calling for greater female representation within international legal institutions, highlighting the way apparently neutral laws often apply differently to women and men, considering intersections between race and gender and contextualising this within international law’s colonial history and noting and trying to manage the tension between using the law for feminist gains whilst wishing to dismantle the masculinist structure of international law itself.

However, whilst feminist approaches to international law are thriving in many ways in the Anglophone world (though sadly also often silenced from “mainstream” international legal scholarship), there is a lack of scholarship in the Francophone world. Project Olympe wishes to change this. There is a need for Francophone scholars to engage more with feminist approaches to international law, thereby bringing their own unique perspectives, culture and philosophy to the field. Further, there is a need in this area to break down linguistic barriers and to change the linguistic perspective. Project Olympe aims to begin this process. For a more detailed description of our aims, see here.

A list of key feminist international legal scholars can be seen in our Anglophone section.


Please click here for a more detailed summary of feminist approaches to interntional law written by Hilary Charlesworth.

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