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. Please check back later.

ASIL and its Women in International Law Interest Group are continuing their support for the Women in International Law Mentoring Program. Since 2013, hundred of women from Tucson to Singapore have enrolled in ASIL's mentoring program as both mentors and mentees. Click the link above for full details.

The WILIG Prominent Women in International Law Award honors those who have advanced women, gender, and women's rights in international law.  Since 1993, the American Society of International Law's Women in International Law Interest Group has selected awardees who:

  • Employs international law to advance women and women's rights -- awardees need not be attorneys, though most are;
  • Breaks through glass ceilings for women in international law;
  • Promotes women and women's voices in the field;
  • Contributes substantively to advancing, researching, advocating for, or promoting women's rights and/or gender justice;
  • Is considered prominent in the field of international law – or has accomplishments that merit further recognition through this prestigious award.

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. These women have broken glass ceilings in the field, worked tirelessly to promote women and women's voices in international law, and contributed substantively to advancing, researching, or advocating for women's rights.

The 2022 call has ended. The deadline was October 15, 2021.

Awardees: Prominent Women in International Law Award

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.

The WILIG Scholarship Prize aims to highlight and promote excellence in international law scholarship involving women and girls, gender, and feminist approaches. Although scholars have utilized gender and feminist analyses in international law for at least a quarter of a century, such approaches frequently fail to permeate the mainstream of international legal scholarship and practice. This prize, awarded every two years, 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.

Questions about the prize can be emailed to wilig@asil.org.

The next WILIG Scholarship Prize will be awarded at the WILIG Luncheon at the 2023 Annual Meeting. A call for submissions will be issued in Spring 2022.

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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