Gendered Realities of the Immunity Principle: Why Gender Analysis Needs Feminism

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The discipline of international relations has had different reactions to the increased salience of gender advocacy in international politics; some have reacted by asking feminist questions about IR, while others have encouraged the study of gender as a variable disengaged from feminist advocacy. This article takes up this debate simultaneously with current debate on gender and the noncombatant immunity principle. Through a causal analysis of the ineffectiveness of the immunity principle, it argues that feminism is an indispensable empirical and theoretical tool for the study of gender in global politics. Concurrently, it demonstrates that gender stereotypes in the immunity principle are a natural part of the gendered just war narrative, rather than a deviation from normal immunity advocacy. It concludes by arguing that the gendered immunity principle fails to afford any civilians protection, and by suggesting a more effective, feminist reformulation based on empathy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-910
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date13 Nov 2006
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • gender
  • non-combatant immunity
  • feminism
  • international relations
  • feminist IR
  • just war
  • security
  • feminist security studies

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