Research Handbook on Feminist Engagement with International Law
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Research Handbook on Feminist Engagement with International Law

Edited by Susan Harris Rimmer and Kate Ogg

For almost 30 years, scholars and advocates have been exploring the interaction and potential between the rights and well-being of women and the promise of international law. This collection posits that the next frontier for international law is increasing its relevance, beneficence and impact for women in the developing world, and to deal with a much wider range of issues through a feminist lens.
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Chapter 6: Can global constitutionalisation be feminist?

Aoife O’Donoghue and Ruth Houghton


Global Constitutionalisation offers a utopian picture of the future of international law. Its advocates suggest a governance system is emergent that will fill the gaps in legitimacy, democracy and the rule of law present in international law. The aim is to create a better global legal order, by filling_these gaps with_both normative and procedural constitutionalism, but, better for whom? Feminism has challenged the foundations of both international law and constitutionalism. It demonstrates that the design of normative structures accommodate and sustain prevailing patriarchal forms that leave little room for alternative accounts or voices. Both international and constitutional law’s structures support the status quo and are often resistant to critical and feminist voices. The question is whether it is possible for constitutionalism to change international law in ways that will open it to alternate possibilities. Feminist Constitutionalism aims to rebuild and rethink constitutional law and reflect feminist experience and debate, to redefine its limits and refocus its ambitions, opening it to new concerns. Global Constitutionalism is not, up to the present, concerned with such questioning. It has been immune to questioning of its underlying aims or assumptions. This chapter considers whether global constitutionalism, if grounded in feminist discourse, could offer international law and global constitutionalism a new pathway. It does so by offering a manifesto which global constitutionalism can take to inculcate feminist concerns into its processes from the outset._

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