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 11: The future of feminist engagement with refugee law: from the margins to the centre and out of the ‘pink ghetto’?

Kate Ogg


In this chapter I contemplate the future directions of feminist engagement with refugee law. Unlike other areas of international law where feminist analysis is minimal or entirely absent, refugee law has attracted considerable attention from feminist scholars and practitioners. This has led to claims that issues of gender and sexuality in refugee law have transitioned from ‘the margins to the centre’. In contrast to this view, I assert that feminist engagement with refugee law remains on periphery of the field due to the fact that gender analyses of refugee law and policy are siloed within issues that have obvious gender dimensions. I argue that the feminist agenda must include feminist examinations of all areas of refugee law and policy – not just topics where gender issues are immediately evident. I use two seemingly gender-neutral topics (the exclusion clause and the concept of surrogate state protection) to demonstrate the ways in which feminist analysis can unmask previously ignored gender concerns, interrogate and destabilise core assumptions in current policy and provide fresh and alternate insights on primary legal texts.

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