Lysistrata, Women and War: International Law's Treatment of Women in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations


Emma L. Lindsay


Aristophanes’ Lysistrata is powerful anti-war play often revived during times of international conflict. This paper uses Lysistrata to highlight and critique binary oppositions that underpin the treatment of women in conflict and post-conflict situations in the play and in international law. While many of the experiences of women and girls in war are similar to those of men and boys, there are important differences. Existing inequalities between women and men, and patterns of discrimination against women and girls, tend to be exacerbated in wartime. There are circumstances in which women suffer harms of a different kind and to a different degree to men or in which certain harms primarily affect women. But if women suffer the impact of conflict in ways men do not, they are also a key to the solution of conflict, as Lysistrata shows.


Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law | Human Rights Law | International Law | Law and Gender

Date of this Version

March 2004