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‘Women and Children First’: Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian Evacuation in the Balkans 1991–95

Abstract
Abstract

Of all noncombatants in the former Yugoslavia, adult civilian men were most likely to be massacred by enemy forces. Why, therefore, did international agencies mandated with the “protection of civilians” evacuate women and children, but not military-age men, from besieged areas? This article reviews the operational dilemmas faced by protection workers in the former Yugoslavia when negotiating access to civilian populations. I argue that a social constructivist approach incorporating gender analysis is required to explain both the civilian protection community's discourse and its operational behavior. First, gender beliefs constitute the discursive strategies on which civilian protection advocacy is based. Second, gender norms operate in practice to constrain the options available to protection workers in assisting civilians. These two causal pathways converged in the former Yugoslavia to produce effects disastrous to civilians, particularly adult men and male adolescents.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Nicholas O. Berry 1997. War and the Red Cross: The Unspoken Mission. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Andreas Hasenclever , Peter Mayer , and Volker Rittberger . 1997. Theories of International Regimes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gil Loescher . 2001. The UNHCR and World Politics: A Perilous Path. New York: Oxford University Press.

Colm McKeogh . 2002. Innocent Civilians: The Morality of Killing in War. New York: Palgrave.

Alexander Wendt . 1999. Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sandra Whitworth . 1994. Feminism and International Relations: Towards a Political Economy of Gender in Interstate and Non-Governmental Institutions. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
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