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Title: Gender as the Forefront of International Law - An Indispensable Key
Keywords: Gender mainstreaming, liberal feminism, CEDAW, structural bias, international law, intersectionality, TWAIL, eclectic, performativity, formal equality, power relations
Issue Date: 13-Apr-2018
Citation: LIN ZIKAI CLEMENT (2018-04-13). Gender as the Forefront of International Law - An Indispensable Key. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This paper aims to analyse the possibility of propelling “gender” as a category to the foreground of international law analysis. Most international law subject matters seldom seem amenable to gender analysis, and gender and women’s issues have traditionally remained at the margins of international law. While feminist critique has spurred positive legal change in conventional international law, the author posits that a radical structural revision is required at a foundational level to address this. The author proposes an ‘eclectic’ and expanded notion of gender as the central theoretical framework of analysis. Current feminist efforts face enormous challenges. The status quo is dismal - women’s issues are either marginalized or become co-opted by the hegemony through gender mainstreaming. This is due to historical links with essentialism and thus requires revision in creating an expanded notion of gender that draws our attention to fundamental power structures. Going beyond the gender binary and incorporating intersectionality is key to this process. With these issues in mind, the author approaches gender equality reform in three parts: (1) Re-appropriating and broadening “gender” as a category of analysis in its own terms, freeing it from parochial dualities; (2) Deconstructing existing projects with similar aims of bringing gender to the fore; (3) Applying the theoretical framework in (1) and the lessons in (2) to make the case for eclectic feminism and gender as its forefront. This paper therefore argues for the centralization of gender in international law in this renewed fashion, constituting a paradigm shift heightening the feminist potential for profound change.
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