The dialogue of difference: gender perspectives on international humanitarian law

This article examines the meaning and potential usefulness of a 'gender perspective' on international humanitarian law (IHL). In order to do so, it considers a number of 'gendered' themes found within IHL, including the role of women as combatants, and the gendered use of sexual violence during times of armed conflict. The authors suggest that further development and understanding of a gender perspective will contribute to the resilience and effectiveness of IHL as a system of law, and will strengthen the protection of those who are victimized and disempowered during times of war.

About the authors

Katie O'Byrne
Solicitor

Katie O’Byrne is a solicitor at Freehills in Melbourne and a former assistant legal officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Helen Durham
Director of International Law and Policy

Helen Durham, born 1968, has a PhD in the fields of international humanitarian law and international criminal law, and is a senior fellow at Melbourne Law School. She has been director of international law, strategy, planning and research at the Australian Red Cross and has worked as ICRC head of office in Sydney and as legal adviser to the ICRC regional delegation in the Pacific. She has also completed a number of missions with the ICRC in Myanmar, Aceh and the Philippines.

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