Legal Feminism and the UN's Gender Mainstreaming Policy: Still Searching for the Blind Spot?

Author:Seryon Lee
Pages:367-384
SUMMARY

This article primarily assesses feminism's achievements and challenges, particularly within the framework of the UN gender mainstreaming policy. The first part of the article explored different feminist inquiries into general law to question whether such inquiries have been successfully or properly reflected in the UN gender mainstream process. The second part focused on the progress made by the... (see full summary)

 
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UN's Gender Mainstreaming Policy
367
VI JEAIL 2 (2013)
Seryon Lee
This article primarily assesses feminism
s achievements and challenges,
particularly within the framework of the UN gender mainstreaming policy. The
      
     
the UN gender mainstream process. The second part focused on the progress
      
     
     
     
female analyses on international law in the last two decades, led to the conclusion
  
    

true
feminist values.
Keywords
Liberal Feminism, Gender Mainstreaming, SC Resolution 1325, SC Resolution
1820, Beijing Declaration
Legal Feminism and
the UN
s Gender
Mainstreaming Policy:
Still Searching for the
Blind Spot?
Professor of International Law, Chonbuk National University (“CBNU”). B.A.(U. Chicago), LL.B.(CBNU),
LL.M.(NYU), Ph.D.(Yonsei). The author may be contacted at: seryon@jbnu.ac.kr / Address: 567 Baekje-daero,
Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do, 561-756 Korea. This paper was supported by research funds of Chonbuk
National University in 2013.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14330/jeail.2013.6.2.02
368 Seryon Lee
I. Introduction
As a result of enthusiastic studies and practices of legal feminism for the past
centuries,
1
all the major human rights treaties since 1945 have recognized gender
equality before the law. However, it was not until the 1990s that the issues concerning
violence against women featured seriously on the agenda of the international
community.
2
Although belated, such enlightenment is partially due to the atrocities
committed against women in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the early 1990s.
It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the article on Feminist Approaches
to International Law
3
by three eminent international law scholars marked the
beginning of vigorous feminist analyses in international law. Thereafter, it paved the
way for active feminist engagement, particularly within the context of international
law for the past two decades.
This article contends that international law is a gendered system, which
marginalizes womens interests in a privileged, virtually mens world.
4
Since
then, different feminist inquiries into international law have generated notable
achievements, especially in the protection of international human rights. However,
feminist discussion seems to occupy a niche area, as Charlesworth acknowledged,
so that the feminist debate may have yet attracted little engagement from the
international community.
5
She persuasively points out that masculinity has been
  
any masculinist perspective on international law.
6
Moreover, it is fairly regrettable
to note that when women appear in the international sphere they are either playing
the male role like Margaret Thatcher or are the quintessential victim in need of male
protection.
7
In other words, the key to feminist debate lies in the fact that women
1 In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft had already advocated for the women’s right to be educated in her classic book, A
VindicAtion of the Rights of WomAn. Women’s suffrage movement prevailed throughout the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. N. Lacey, Feminist Legal Theory and the Rights of Women, in gendeR And humAn Rights 13-14
(K. Knop ed., 2004).
2 A. edWARds, Violence AgAinst Women: undeR inteRnAtionAl humAn Rights lAW 7 (2011).
3 H. Charlesworth, Christine Chinkin and Shelly Wright, Feminist Approaches to International Law, 85 Am. J. intl l.
618-645 (1991).
4 Id. at 614-615.
5 H. Charlesworth, Talking to Ourselves: Should International Lawyers Take a break from Feminist? in feminist
PeRsPectiVes on contemPoRARy inteRnAtionAl lAW 17 (S. Kouyo & Z. Pearson eds., 2011).
6 H. Charlesworth, Feminist Ambivalence about International Law, 11 intl legAl theoRy 1 (2005).
7 R. Saloom, A Feminist Inquiry into International Law and International Relations, 12 RogeR WilliAms u. l. ReV.
169 (2006). E.g., women are portrayed more or less as victims in number of international instrument including the

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