Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights

Each year, the Rapoport Center awards the Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights to the winner of an interdisciplinary writing competition on international human rights and gender.

The $1,250 prize is made possible by a donation from University of Texas linguistics professor Robert King. It honors the work of Audre Rapoport (1923-2016), who advocated for women in the United States and internationally, particularly on issues of reproductive health.

For more information, including submission details, please click here.

Winners can be viewed below.

2023: First Place, Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights

Reimagining Antisubordination from the Global South: Towards a Joint Venture Theory of Legal Interpretation

Taís Penteado's paper discusses the complexity of subordination in legal contexts, particularly in the case of the Brazilian Supreme Court's criminalization of LGBTQphobia. Penteado argues that legal decisions based on the anti-subordination principle should consider the diverse ways inequalities manifest to address them effectively and highlight the dynamic nature of power relations and the challenges posed by intersectionality, and proposes a "Joint Venture Theory of Legal Interpretation," suggesting that civil society participation should be considered in legal interpretation to create more inclusive and effective legal outcomes.

2022: First Place, Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights

The Unhappy Marriage of ‘Queerness’ and ‘Culture’: The Present Implications of Fixating on the Past

Arti Gupta's paper identifies the danger of relying upon the past to confer legitimacy on non-normative sex and gender in India. The paper explores how totalizing accounts of history and appeals to "Indian culture" have been used to cast both "homosexuality" and "homophobia" as colonial impositions. Gupta's analysis further notes how these dueling narratives are instrumentalized by political actors, such as postcolonial elites or the Hindu Right, to evade responsibility and advance romanticized and essentialized visions of history, culture, and identity.

2022: Second Place, Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights

Critical Reflections on the Structural Legal Power in Human Rights Law

Alaa Hajyahia explores the practice of wearing Islamic veils in public spaces in Europe, using a representative case study to detail how the Muslim woman is constructed by the European Court of Human Rights. Hajyahia argues that in cases involving Muslim women, the European Court of Human Rights maintains, protects, and enforces white power and control as defined by critical race scholars, all under the guise of gender equality.

2022: Third Place, Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights

The Legal Impact of COVID-19 on Women’s International Human Rights: Analyzing the #NiUnaMenos Movement in Latin America

Fabiola Gretzinger details the history and successes of the #NiUnaMenos and the Marea Verde (Green Wave) movements throughout Latin America before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the obligations of both governments and movements to ensure women's rights are strengthened and protected.


Between Intra-Group Vulnerability and Inter-Group Vulnerability: Bridging the Gaps in the Theoretical Scholarship on Internal Minorities

Miriam Zucker's paper deconstructs scholarly blindspots in discussions of oppressive intra-group treatment of vulnerable persons that are part of minority groups. Zucker argues that scholarship fails to account for the role of the state in the problem of intra-group vulnerability. Recognizing the responsibility of the state for this problem, the paper insists, can then form a basis from which to hold the state accountable and more effectively respond to vulnerable members’ interests and needs.


Mapping Gender Violence Along the Balkan Route: Humanitarian Assemblages, Securitization Policies, and the Experiences of Women Refugees and Migrants

Laura Charney’s paper uses ethnographic data from personal interviews to center on the migrant and refugee experience. Rather than emphasizing smugglers as the primary source of violence, her research implicates securitization processes, state bureaucracies, and anti-trafficking and anti-smuggling humanitarian projects, all of which relegate migrants to a “rightless” zone of economic, political and social vulnerability.


Colonized Masculinities and Feminicide in the United States: How Conditions of Coloniality Socialize Feminicidal Men

Shireen Jalali-Yazdi presents a feminist decolonial intersectional framework of the killing of African American women, using it to undermine culturalist and racial explanations for the prevalence of feminicide in African American communities. The paper argues that the colonial conditions faced by African American men have contributed to the construction of feminicidal masculinities.


Redeeming Rape: Berlin 1945 and the Making of Modern International Criminal Law

By Heidi Matthews

Since the end of the Cold War, feminist scholars and activists have succeeded in making rape and other sexual violence crimes a top priority on the international criminal law agenda. This paper argues that the "feminist failure narrative" should be contested on the ground that it contributes to the depoliticization of international criminal law and offers a framework for re-politicizing international rape law.


Translating Rights into Agency: Advocacy, Aid and the Domestic Workers Convention

In June 2011, the International Labor Conference adopted the Domestic Workers Convention (the Convention), the first international labor standard to set out legal obligations that specifically protect and improve the working lives of domestic workers. Kali Yuan argues that previous regulatory attempts to protect domestic workers have been inadequate and, although it is an improvement, the Convention is currently also an insufficient legal instrument.


The Path to Gender Justice in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

By Patricia Palacios Zuloaga

This paper examines the lack of gender-relevant cases before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the unfortunate handling of most of those cases that it did not consider through an analysis of the male-dominated nature of law as well as an analysis of how domestic and international judicial systems respond to women’s concerns.


‘Orphans’ or Veterans? Justice for Children Born of War in East Timor

By Susan Harris Rimmer

There is official silence on the number and treatment of the children born of conflict in East Timor, a lack of attention in the transitional justice mechanisms in place in regard to the human rights violations that produced their situation, and no official policies to deal with the needs of these children or their mothers, or the discrimination they may face. The challenge posed by these children and women to the social fabric of Timor reveals important gaps and silences within the international human rights law framework which might nonetheless be addressed by some fairly straightforward policy innovations.


Unofficial Accountability: A Proposal for the Permanent Women’s Tribunal on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

By Fleming Terrell

This paper argues that State-based fora cannot adequately hold individual perpetrators and State sponsors of sexual violence in armed conflict accountable. Accordingly, it posits that “unofficial” mechanisms- created by private individuals without authorization from any State- be considered as means to eliminate impunity for sexual violence committed during armed conflict.