Call for Papers: “Gender, Sexuality and Armed Conflict”

  • Anywhere
  • June 27, 2024

Website International Review of the Red Cross

Call for Papers: “Gender, Sexuality and Armed Conflict”

Call for papers released: 1 May 2024

Proposals due: 27 June 2024

Full papers invited by: 1 August 2024

Full papers sent to IRRC by: 15 January 2025

Edition published: December 2025

Gender and sexuality are central to an individual’s experience of armed conflict. Preexisting structural inequalities and complex power dynamics can worsen and shift during war. So, too, can the relationships among intersecting identities and sources of risk, such as age, disability, race, ethnicity, and religion, among others.

Inequalities based on gender or sexual orientation mean that, from the outset, armed conflict never takes place on a level playing field, with biases and structural inequalities inextricably linked to the reality of the battlefield. Meanwhile, the data shows that military operations inflict harm in specifically gendered ways. How this plays out in practice varies widely, both within and across contexts. An individual’s vulnerability to harm does not map tidily and predictably onto their gender and sexuality, but gender and sexuality are nonetheless inextricably linked to many conflict-related risks, including impeded access to healthcare, presumption of civilian or combatant status, exposure to sexual violence (including in detention settings), and more.

With this edition, the International Review of the Red Cross hopes to compile a collection of articles on the implications of gender- and sexuality-specific impacts of armed conflict for international law and humanitarian policy. Papers can discuss these impacts from the perspective of international humanitarian or human rights law, the Women, Peace and Security agenda, or humanitarian policy and/or action; in other words, the proposals need not be strictly legal to be considered for publication. The Review will preference thoughtful, innovative proposals that seek to delve into and/or solve complex problems from fresh and considered perspectives. Along those lines, note that many pages have already been filled with discussions of how gender is and is not addressed by international humanitarian law (IHL) and related debates over its role in this respect. Cognizant of these discussions, the updated ICRC Commentaries to the Geneva Conventions analyse gender-specific needs from the perspective of contemporary practice and legal requirements. Given the extensive literature in this area, the Review encourages prospective authors to be familiar with and go beyond the existing literature in their proposals.

In developing their proposals, authors might consider exploring questions such as the following (though this list is far from exhaustive):

  • How can existing international humanitarian law (IHL) be read in light of modern legal and social concepts to address the gender- and sexuality-specific impacts of armed conflict?
  • How do gender and sexuality affect the short- and long-term harms individuals face during and after armed conflict?
  • How have States in their practice, such as national legislation and/or military manuals, interpreted and implemented IHL in light of modern understandings of gender and sexuality? How has that played out in practice?
  • How have national and international judicial bodies interpreted IHL in light of modern understandings of gender and sexuality? How has that played out in practice?
  • How does international human rights law, such as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, interplay with IHL in situations of armed conflict to address gendered harm?
  • As armed conflict relies on new technologies like autonomous weapons and on cyber operations, what effects will this shift have on the gender and sexuality differentiated harms of armed conflict?
  • To what extent has States’ adoption of feminist approaches to foreign policy changed the gender and sexuality differentiated harms of armed conflict?
  • What can IHL experts, humanitarians, and/or militaries glean from other fields of law – such as humanitarian disarmament law, international environmental law, international criminal law, and international human rights law? For example, how can understandings of gender and sexuality as developed via international criminal law – such as discussions of gender persecution, or sexual and gender-based violence – influence the interpretation and implementation of IHL?
  • What gender- and sexuality-based inequities play out in the humanitarian space, and how do humanitarian organizations avoid replicating and reinforcing such inequalities and harms? How should they?
  • Humanitarian organizations have introduced approaches to improve accountability to affected populations in their work. In what ways are the views of people of diverse genders and sexualities in conflict-affected contexts influencing humanitarian decision-making?
  • How are global governance initiatives, such as the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, currently addressing the gendered and sexuality-specific impacts of armed conflict?

Call for proposals

The Review calls for proposals on gender, sexuality and armed conflict, for publication in December 2025. We particularly value proposals with a forward-looking perspective that offer recommendations to address current legal and humanitarian problems, as well as proposals that develop innovative and creative arguments that could impact future legal and policy debates.

Submitting your proposal

We invite interested individuals to submit an abstract of maximum 500 words and a biography of not more than 300 words by 27 June 2024. If invited to submit a paper, the target length is between 8,000 and 10,000 words (including footnotes). However, we are open to proposals for other formats (opinion notes, case notes focusing on recent national or regional jurisprudence, etc.). Our selection process will prioritize innovative proposals with clear potential to contribute to and advance legal and policy debates in the years ahead.

In the abstract, please include the following:

  • title;
  • main arguments you intend to develop; and
  • an explanation of how your topic innovatively contributes to the existing literature and fits within the Review’s editorial line (for further reference, please consult our Guidelines for Authors).

Please send these materials in a single Word document to [email protected]. Note that, in line with our ongoing commitment to provide space for a diverse array of voices in this field, we encourage submissions by established and emerging voices alike, as well as by people from groups historically underrepresented in the Review’s pages.

You will be notified as to the status of your proposal by 1 August 2024. If invited to submit a full-length article, a draft of your completed article will be due by 15 January 2025.

A jury will review submissions to this edition, the membership of which will be announced by 1 August.

To apply for this job please visit international-review.icrc.org.