The Future of Women’s Engagement with International Law


I’ve just returned from sunny Brisbane, Australia, where I had the pleasure of participating in a two-day expert workshop hosted by IntLawGrrl Susan Harris Rimmer of Griffith University Law School (pictured left) and co-organized by Kate Ogg of the Australian National University College of Law (pictured below right).  True to the organizers’ description, the conference featured “the most excellent cast of characters a production could ever hope for.”  We were welcomed by Griffith Law Dean Penelope Mathew, a feminist international law professor (like an IntLawGrrl’s dream come true!), who participated throughout the first day.  The first order of business was a lively debate on terminology: feminist, gender, or women.

kate oggWhile I’m not sure that we reached consensus on that question, the panelists presented a feast of terrific projects, ranging from efforts to quantify women’s presence in the legal academy to examining whether fields such as global constitutionalism can be reconstituted as a feminist project.  Participants also represented a range of levels of seniority and a mix of academics and practitioners, from Kamala Chandrakirana of the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and in Practice, IntLawGrrl Hilary Charlesworth, and Dr. Sima Samar of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, to Siobhan Airey, currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa, writing on consent in international law; Saptarshi Mandal, an Assistant Professor at Jindal University in New Delhi, writing on global governance and local feminisms, and IntLawGrrl Gabrielle Simm, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Technology in Sydney, writing on gender and disasters.  All of these projects and more will constitute the Research Handbook on Women and International Law to be published by Edward Elgar in 2017 .

This was just the first of a series of workshops that will take place around the edited volume, which aims to “define the research agenda for women’s engagement with international law over the next 50 years.”  While the participant list is largely complete, the editors are still seeking chapters that present TWAIL and/or masculinities theories, as well as those that discuss technology issues and methodologies.  If you’re interested in authoring such a chapter, please contact Prof. Sue Harris Rimmer at




Introducing Gabrielle Simm

Gabrielle SimmIt’s our great pleasure today to welcome Gabrielle Simm as an IntLawGrrls contributor.  Gabrielle is an international lawyer with research interests in gender, feminist theory, humanitarian aid and disaster law, migration and refugee law. 

She currently works as a Senior Research Associate with Professor Andrew Byrnes at the Australian Human Rights Centre, University of New South Wales Law School, Sydney, Australia where she teaches public international law. In 2011, Gabrielle completed her PhD under the supervision of IntLawGrrls contributor Professor Hilary Charlesworth at the Regulatory Institutions Network, Australian National University. She also holds an LLM in comparative refugee law from the University of British Columbia and has taught at ANU and UBC.

Prior to commencing her PhD, Gabrielle worked as an international lawyer in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Attorney-General’s Department, and as a diplomat in South-east Asia.  She has also worked as a refugee lawyer in Melbourne.

Gabrielle’s introductory post today discusses her book, Sex in Peace Operations, which was based on her PhD thesis and published by Cambridge University Press in April 2013.