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Professor Joseph Weiler, Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law (EJIL), and Charlesworth discuss whether feminist theory in international law has become mainstream. Charlesworth acknowledges that there have been gains in the feminist project since she co-published her seminal article, ‘Feminist Approaches to International Law’ with Christine Chinkin and Shelley Wright in 1991 (see (1991) 85 American Journal of International Law 613). In particular, the language of feminism has entered mainstream institutions. However, Charlesworth provides that, whilst the ‘vocabulary has triumphed … the political agenda behind the ideas hasn’t’.
Charlesworth says that it is problematic that the debate on feminist theory remains ‘in-house’. She suggests that the project would progress if international lawyers who were not feminist theorists were to engage with the issue in respect of their various fields of expertise.
Charlesworth and Weiler also traverse the topic of Australian and New Zealand international lawyers abroad. Weiler jokes that both countries are considered ‘international law powerhouses’ and sometimes people tell him that EJIL should be called the Australian Journal of International Law because it publishes the work of so many Australians.
Charlesworth suggests that a possible explanation is that international law is considered an escape route for Australians, ‘a bridge from our isolated existence into other worlds’. She observes, however, that it is a shame for Australian scholarship that there is such a leakage of talent to Europe and the United States.