International Review of the Red Cross, 2010, No. 877 – Women
Issue No. 877- 2010
Download PDF 4 MB Over the centuries, our perception of the main actors in warfare has been shaped by stereotypes of men as the aggressors and women as peace-loving and passive bystanders. However, the reality is women also take an active role in armed conflicts and in their aftermath; as politicians, combatants, leaders of non-governmental organisations, social and political groups and peace campaigners. Appropriate action requires a greater understanding of the impact of armed conflict on women and the particular vulnerabilities they face.
Table of contents
Editorial - IRRC March 2010 No 877
Interview with Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland (1990-1997), former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002) and current President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, has spent most of her life as a human rights advocate. As an academic (Trinity College Law Faculty), legislator and barrister, she has always sought to use law as an instrument for social change.
Between Amazons and Sabines: a historical approach to women and war
Irène Herrmann and Daniel Palmieri
Today, war is still perceived as being the prerogative of men only. Yet history shows that through the ages, women have also played a role in armed hostilities, and have sometimes even been the main protagonists.
The dialogue of difference: gender perspectives on international humanitarian law
Helen Durham and Katie O'Byrne
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.
Women fighters and the ‘beautiful soul’ narrative
This article explores women’s presence in military forces around the world, looking both at women’s service as soldiers and at the gendered dimensions of their soldiering particularly, and soldiering generally.
Women's participation in the Rwandan genocide: mothers or monsters?
The participation of women in the 1994 Rwandan genocide should be considered in the context of gender relations in pre-genocide Rwandan society. Women in leadership positions played a particularly important role in the genocide, and gendered imagery, including of the ‘evil woman’ or ‘monster’, is often at play in their encounters with the law.
From helplessness to agency: examining the plurality of women's experiences in armed conflict
Medina Haeri and Nadine Puechguirbal
This article argues for the need to consider the plurality of women’s experiences in war, including as female heads of households, as victims (and survivors) of sexual violence, as community leaders, and as armed combatants.
Women in detention
Julie Ashdown and Mel James
Prison systems are rarely gender sensitive, and are even less so in conflict situations. When women are detained, it is crucial that international standards, applied with sensitivity to women's particular needs, are brought to bear.
Women, armed conflict and language – Gender violence and discourse
Laura J. Shepherd
In this article, the author provides an analysis of Chapter 5.10 of the United Nations Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards, arguing that policy makers, scholars, students and practitioners cannot avoid making and/or changing meaning through their well-meaning interventions, but that this need not lead to political or practical inertia.
Women, economy, war
This article explores the realities of women’s work amid political violence, post-war development, and across the spectrum of in/formality. The conclusions serve to challenge established notions of power, profit, economy, and the role of gender within these.
"They came with two guns": The consequences of sexual violence for the mental health of women in armed conflicts
Sexual violence has serious and multiple consequences for the mental health of women. It has a lasting negative impact on the victim's perception of herself, of events and of others. This article discusses these consequences of sexual violence for the mental health of women, especially those who are its victims during armed conflicts.
The Security Council on women in war: between peacebuilding and humanitarian protection
The following article first analyses the foundations on which the Council has been able to assume responsibility for protecting women in situations of armed conflict, and then considers the actual protection it provides. The author proposes that the Council’s role could be better accomplished through situational resolutions than through resolutions declaratory of international law.
UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820: constructing gender in armed conflict and international humanitarian law
This paper highlights important developing norms on women, peace and security. Although these norms are significant, they may not be radical enough to expand constructions of gender within international humanitarian law. This leaves existing provisions open to continued scrutiny.
Between rhetoric and reality: exploring the impact of military humanitarian intervention upon sexual violence – post-conflict sex trafficking in Kosovo
Samantha T. Godec
By analysing the phenomenon of post-conflict trafficking in Kosovo following the NATO intervention, the author presents a challenge to the ‘feminist hawks’ who have called for military intervention in situations of systematic sexual violence.
Lost in translation: UN responses to sexual violence against men and boys in situations of armed conflict
The article assesses the state of knowledge and work in the field of sexual violence against men and boys and notes that although there have been many positive developments, the issue is not always moving in the right direction.
National implementation of international humanitarian law – Biannual update, July to December 2009
Biannual update on national legislation and case law July–December 2009
Books and articles
Recent acquisitions of the Library & Research Service