Women in International Law

The Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG) was created to promote and enhance the careers of women in the field of international law. WILIG not only supports women who are already in the field in order to allow the development of their full potential for achievement and leadership, but also supports, encourages, and enhances opportunities for others who are interested in entering the field of international law. In addition, WILIG works to promote awareness of gender in all areas of international law. WILIG sponsors panels and a luncheon at the ASIL Annual Meeting and recommends speakers and experts on a variety on international law topics. Through its online discussion forum, the Interest Group provides information on developments, programs, opportunities, and publications of interest to WILIG members. WILIG also recognizes the work of outstanding women in the field of international law with its Award for Prominent Women in International Law. These activities are coordinated by a 10-15 person Steering Committee, which meets several times per year.

Applications are currently NOT being accepted.

The deadline for MENTEES was September 17, 2023.
The deadline for MENTOR applications was August 20, 2023.

Please join us in congratulating Professor Karima Bennoune, our 2024 Prominent Woman in International Law. Professor Bennoune is the Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. She specializes in public international law and international human rights law, including issues related to culture, extremism and terrorism, and women’s human rights.

The WILIG Prominent Woman in International Law Award honors those who have advanced women, gender, and women's rights in international law.

The diverse accomplishments of previous awardees demonstrate the multiple ways in which honorees achieve this recognition. Past awardees include judges of the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Tribunals, founders of women's rights NGOs, business leaders, government officials, and scholars. Some of these women have broken glass ceilings in the field, others have worked tirelessly to promote women and women's voices in international law, and still others have contributed substantively to advancing, researching, or advocating for women's rights.

Awardees: Prominent Women in International Law Award

2024: Karima Bennoune, Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law at the University of Michigan

2023: Gillian Triggs, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection with UNHCR

2022: Fatou Bensouda, Former Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

2021: Gabrielle Kirk McDonald

2020: Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito, Inter-American Court of Human Rights

2019: Tracy Robinson, University of the West Indies Faculty of Law

2018: I. Maxine Marcus, Director, Partners in Justice International

2017:  Judge Rosemary Barkett, Judge, Iran-United States Claims Tribunal

2016:   Elizabeth Andersen, Executive Director, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative

2015:   Anne-Marie Slaughter, President & CEO, New America Foundation


Judge Joan Donoghue, International Court of Justice

Judge Julia Sebutinde, International Court of Justice

Judge Xue Hanqin, International Court of Justice

2013:   Diane Marie Amann, University of Georgia School of Law

2012:   Mireille Delmas-Marty, Chair of Comparative Legal Studies and Internationalization of Law at College de France

2011:   Lucy Reed, Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; Former President, ASIL

2010:   Dinah Shelton, Commissioner, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Professor, George Washington University Law School

2009:   Unity Dow, Justice, High Court of Botswana

2008:   Graciela Dixon, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Panama

2007:   Taghreed Hikmat, Judge, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

2006:   Rosalyn Higgins, President, International Court of Justice


Regan Ralph, Executive Director, Fund for Global Human Rights

Kelly D. Askin, Senior Legal Officer for International Justice, Open Society Justice Initiative

Lea Browning, President, W.E.A.R.E. for Human Rights

2004:   Cecelia Medina, Judge, Inter-American Court of Human Rights


Hauwa Ibrahim, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow, American University Washington College of Law; Defense Counsel to Nigerian defendant Amina Lawal

Sujata V. Manohar, Member, National Human Rights Commission of India; Former Judge, Supreme Court of India


Patricia Wald, Former Judge, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Marcia A. Wiss, Partner, Hogan & Hartson

2000:   Ruth Lapidoth, Professor, Hebrew University Faculty of Law

1999:   Patricia Viseur Sellers, Legal Advisor for Gender Related Crimes and Senior Acting Trial Attorney in the Office of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda


Lea Browning, Hogan & Hartson

Sujata V. Manoha, Director, International Centre for Ethnic Studies

Ricki Helfer, Chair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Sonia Picado, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States


Patricia Schroeder, Member, U.S. House of Representatives

Geraldine A. Ferraro, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission

Edith   B. Weiss, President, American Society of International Law; and Professor, Georgetown University Law Center

Diane  P. Wood, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit


Cynthia C. Lichtenstein, Professor, Boston College of Law

Laura Bocalandro, Inter-American Development Bank

Rita E. Hauser, President, The Hauser Foundation

Arvonne S. Fraser, U.S. Representative, UN Commission on the Status of Women


Jamie  S. Gorelick, General Counsel, U. S. Department of Defense

Rosalyn Higgins, Professor, London School of Economics

Madeleine E. Wall, Group Director, Legal Services Cable & Wireless PLC


Charlene Barshefsky, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative

Carol   F. Lee, General Counsel, Export-Import Bank of the United States

Elizabeth R. Rindskopf, General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency

Professional affiliations listed here reflect those that were current at the time the award was granted.  WILIG welcomes updates or corrections to this list, as some of the awardees were unavailable for comment.

WILIG seeks nominations for its third biennial Scholarship Prize which will be awarded during 2024 and formally presented at the 2025 Annual Meeting. Submissions for the prize are due on May 30, 2024.

The WILIG Scholarship Prize highlights and promotes excellence in international law scholarship involving women and girls, gender, and feminist approaches. It recognizes innovative contributions to international law scholarship that theorize or utilize a feminist lens or lenses, highlight, and seek to address topics disproportionately affecting women and girls, or consider the impact of international law or policy on gender more broadly. The WILIG Scholarship Prize Committee may award up to two prizes: one for book length monographs or edited volumes, and the other for individual articles or book chapters. Nominators may only nominate one book or article per cycle. Self-nominations are welcome. Submitted works will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  1. Appropriate Substance. The work utilizes a feminist lens or lenses, addresses a topic that disproportionately affects women and girls, or considers the impact of international law or policy on gender more broadly.
  2. Innovative. The work addresses topics not covered by previous scholars, highlights diverse perspectives on law and policy, uses new theoretical or methodological approaches, or applies theoretical or methodological approaches to topics in new ways.
  3. Learned. The work demonstrates in-depth knowledge and expertise concerning a topic.
  4. Impactful. The work has affected or has the potential to affect the way scholars and policymakers view or address a particular topic or issue going forward.
To submit an article, chapter, or book published in the last three years for consideration, please send the relevant scholarly work, along with a cover letter describing why the work merits the award in light of the criteria above, to wilig@asil.org by May 30. If you are recommending a book, we suggest you obtain an electronic copy from the publisher. However, if you are unable to send a copy in electronic format, please contact Suhong Yang (sy510@georgetown.edu) so that we can make other arrangements.

2023: Indira Rosenthal, Valerie Oosterveld, and Susana SáCouto, Gender and International Criminal Law (OUP, 2022); Catherine O’Rourke, Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law (CUP, 2020)

Irini Papanicolopulu (inaugural awardee), Gender and the Law of the Sea (Brill, 2019)

WILIG and the Harvard International Law Journal are pleased to present this special series.
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