Dr Aisling  Swaine

Dr Aisling Swaine

Associate Professor of Gender and Security

Department for Gender Studies

Room No
FAW 10.01F
Key Expertise
the women, peace and security agenda;

About me

Aisling Swaine is Associate Professor of Gender and Security at the Department of Gender Studies.

Aisling’s research and teaching interests are in the areas of feminist legal theory and gender theory of armed conflict, international security and peacebuilding. Her work is concerned with feminist examination of international law and global normative developments relating to armed conflict and peacebuilding.  Specifically, her recent book, Conflict-Related Violence Against Women: Transforming Transition, examines relationships between violence against women within and outside of armed conflict and how transitional justice mechanisms engage with the characteristics of violence experienced by women. Broader work examines the UN Security Council’s women, peace and security agenda, relationships between global policy developments on human rights and security policy within the UN system, and practical implementation of global commitments on gender equality in conflict and peacebuilding contexts.

Aisling received a PhD in law from the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University (2012), an MSc. in Humanitarian Assistance (2000) and a Bachelor of Arts (1999) from University College Dublin, Ireland.

Previously, Aisling worked with the United Nations and international NGOs in humanitarian and post-conflict recovery settings globally, as well as at international policy levels with UN Women and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

Aisling is a Visiting Fellow at the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University, and previously a Hauser Global Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice at the School of Law, New York University. She is an appointed ‘Expert’ to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs Foreign Policy Network, is a member of the Faculty Advisory Council of the Global Women’s Institute, George Washington University and is a member of a number of UN advisory expert rosters.


Expertise Details

Conflict-related violence against women; the women; peace and security agenda; feminist legal theory; transitional justice; humanitarianism; global gender equality policy; the UN Security Council.





Swaine, A. (2018) Conflict-Related Violence Against Women: Transforming Transition. New York: Cambridge University Press.



Journal Articles


O’Rourke, C, Swaine, A. (2018)  CEDAW and the Security Council: Enhancing Women’s Rights in Conflict, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 67 (1), 167-199.

O’Rourke, C., Swaine, A. (2017) Gender, Violence and Reparations in Northern Ireland: A Story Yet to be Told, International Journal of Human Rights, 21, (9), 1302-1319.

Swaine, A. (2016). Law and Negotiation: A Role for a Transformative Approach? Global Policy, 7 (2), 282-287.

Swaine, A. (2015) Beyond Strategic Rape and Between the Public and Private: Violence Against Women in Armed Conflict. Human Rights Quarterly 37 (3), 755-786.

Myrttinnen, H., Swaine, A. (2015) Monster Myths, Selfies and Grand Declarations. International Journal of Feminist Politics 17 (3), 496-502.

Ní Aolain, F., O’Rourke, C., Swaine, A.  (2015) Transforming Reparations for Conflict-related Sexual Violence: Principles and Practice. Harvard Human Rights Journal, 28 (1), 95-144.

Swaine, A. (2014) Substantive New Normative Provisions on Women and Armed Conflict Concurrently Adopted by the United Nations Security Council and the CEDAW Committee. American Society for International Law Insights, 18 (5).

Rooney, E., Swaine, A.  (2012). The ‘Long Grass’ of Agreements: Promise, Theory and Practice. International Criminal Law Review, 12 (3), 519-548.

 Burns, K., Foran, S., Swaine, A.  (2012. Improving the Effectiveness of Humanitarian Action: Progress in Implementing the IASC Gender Marker. Gender and Development, 20 (2), 233-247.

Swaine, A. (2009). Assessing the Potential of National Action Plans to Advance Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325).Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law 12, 403-433.



Book Chapters


[Forthcoming] Swaine, A. (2018) Women, Peace and Security. In: P. Williams, M. McDonald, eds. Security Studies: An Introduction, UK: Routledge.

[Forthcoming] Swaine, A. (2018) Pursuing Gender Security. In: S. Davies, J. True, eds. Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security, UK: Oxford University Press.

Swaine, A. (2017). Globalising Women, Peace and Security: Trends in National Action Plans. In: S. Aroussi, ed. Rethinking National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security, NATO Science for Peace and Security Series,  Amsterdam: IOS Publishing, 7-27.

Swaine, A. (2016). Enabling or Disabling Paternalism: (In)attention to Gender and Women’s Knowledge, Capacity and Authority in Humanitarian Contexts.In: M. N. Barnett, ed. Paternalism Beyond Borders, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Swaine, A. (2015). Practicing Women, Peace and Security in Post-Conflict Reconstruction. In:  J. Sweeney, M. Saul, eds. International Law and Post-Conflict Reconstruction Policy, New York: Routledge, 66-94.

Swaine, A. (2004). A Neglected Perspective: Adolescent Girls’ Experiences of the Kosovo Conflict of 1999. In: J.Boyden, J. de Berry, eds. Children and Youth on the Frontline: Ethnography, Armed Conflict and Displacement, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 63-84.



Policy Publications, Reports and Briefs


Swaine, A. (2017). Furthering Comprehensive Approaches to the needs of Victims/Survivors of Conflict-related Sexual Violence: An Analysis of National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security in Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines and Timor-Leste. Bangkok: UN Women.

Swaine, A. (2016). Making Women and Girls’ Needs, Wellbeing and Rights Central to National Action Plans in the Asia-Pacific Region, Bangkok: UN Women. 

O’Rourke, C., Swaine, A. (2015). Guidebook on CEDAW General Recommendation No. 30 and the Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. New York: UN Women. 

Miller, B., Pournik, M., Swaine, A.  (2014).  Women in Peace and Security through United Nations Security Resolution 1325: Literature Review, Content Analysis of National Action Plans, and Implementation. Working Paper of Institute for Global and International Studies, George Washington University.

Swaine, A. (2013). National Implementation of the UN Security Council’s women, peace and security resolutions, Norway: NOREF.

Swaine, A. (2013) A Programme of Work for Gender Equality in the Emergency and Recovery Section’s work. Dublin: Irish Aid, Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

ní Aoláin, F., O’Rourke, C., Swaine, A.  (2012). Reparations for Conflict-related Sexual Violence. New York and Geneva: UN Women and UNOHCHR.

Swaine, A. (2012). Interagency Standing Committee on Humanitarian Action Gender Marker: Analysis of Results and Lessons Learned. Geneva: United Nations. 

Swaine, A. (2011). Learning Brief: Addressing GBV in Post-Conflict & Fragile States: A Case Study of Sierra Leone. Dublin: Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence.

Swaine, A. (2010). Voices of Experience: Cross-Learning Process on UNSCR 1325. Dublin: Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

Doody, A., Murray,S., Swaine, A.  (2010). Gender Equality Policy Review Report. Dublin: Irish Aid, Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

Swaine, A. (2008). Stepping Up Ireland’s Response to Women, Peace and Security: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. Dublin: Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence. 

Swaine, A. (2003). Traditional Justice and Gender Based Violence in Timor-Leste. Dili: The International Rescue Committee.



Media and Online Blogs


Swaine, A. (12th September, 2017). CEDAW General Recommendation 35 draws an explicit link between gender, discrimination and conflict-related violence against women. LSE Center for Women, Peace and Security Blog Series.

Swaine, A. (13th October, 2015). Implementing Resolution 1325: The role of action plans. 50:50 Inclusive Democracy. “Practicing Women, Peace and Security in Post-Conflict Reconstruction.” International Law Observer.

Swaine, A. (8th September, 2015.) Practicing Women, Peace and Security in Post-Conflict Reconstruction. International Law Observer.

Swaine, A. (28th April, 2015). A century of social and political change - but much more remains to be done. Irish Independent.

Swaine, A. (18th April, 2015). Debating the long and the short-term view of sexual violence in war. 50:50 Inclusive Democracy.

Swaine, A. (14th May, 2014). Women, Peace and Security and Much More Accountability.Global Gender Current.

Swaine, A. (15th April, 2014). Law, Negotiation and Armed Conflict: What Role for Gender Equality? Global Gender Current.

Swaine, A. (5th March, 2014). Addressing Gender Equality and Gender-based Crimes at the International Criminal Court: Commenting on the Office of the Prosecutor’s new draft policy. Global Gender Current.

Swaine, A. (September, 2012). How can National Action Plans be used most effectively? Hannah’s House E-zine.



Aisling’s research interests are in feminist legal theory and gender theory of armed conflict, international security and peacebuilding. Her works examines conflict-related violence against women, humanitarianism and human rights, peacebuilding and institutional strategies towards gender equality within the UN system.


Conflict-related Violence Against Women:


Aisling’s most recent work comparatively assesses three conflict-affected jurisdictions (Liberia, Northern Ireland, and Timor-Leste), to empirically and theoretically expand current understanding of the form and nature of conflict-time harms impacting women. This work has involved ethnographic primary research identifying the ‘violences’ that occur in conflict beyond strategic rape; developing theoretical and methodological frameworks to analyse on a disaggregated and an aggregated basis, the relations between forms of violence within and across the pre-, mid-, and post-conflict phase in these three contexts, identifying connections and distinctions in violence across space and time; and examining transitional justice processes and the ways in which they engage with the spectrum of violence that women experience.


Additional work examines the links between peacebuilding and violence against women in post-conflict Sierra Leone, and whether and how violence against women is integrated into post-conflict peacebuilding strategies in that context.


Transitional Justice


Through the lens of feminist legal theory, Aisling’s work is concerned with examining gender and justice provisions in post-conflict settings. In addition to her work in her recent book, with colleagues from the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, she has examined reparations for conflict-related sexual violence, examining gendered understandings of justice and reparation in global settings; as well as specific work examining the potential for reparations for women following the Northern Ireland conflict.


The Women, Peace and Security Agenda:


Aisling’s work examines both feminist engagement with the workings of the UN system, including examining the relationship between the UN human rights system and the UN Security Council, as well as a specific focus on the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda of the Security Council.  Aisling applies gender policy and planning theory to work examining National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security and implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in post-conflict peacebuilding.




Aisling’s work is concerned with questioning the nature and character of humanitarian action globally and its impact on the lives of women and girls. Previous work has examined gender and paternalism in humanitarianism; while current work examines the relationship between humanitarianism and human rights and how both modalities work to advance strategies to address violence against women and girls in humanitarian settings.




Principle Investigator: ‘Exploring the intersection of violence against women and girls with post-conflict state-building and peace-building processes: A comparative study.’  Part of a five-part DFID funded grant ‘What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls’ led by the Global Women’s Institute, The George Washington University, Nov 2014-Nov 2017.

Researcher: DFID funded ‘Political Settlements Research: Towards Open and Inclusive Settlements.’ Research grant led by The University of Edinburgh, and the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University. Sept 2014 – 2018.




Aisling co-convenes the Masters in Women, Peace and Security with Dr. Marsha Henry.


She convenes and teaches on GI425 Women, Peace and Security; Convenes and teaches on GI427 Advanced Issues in Women, Peace and Security.


Lecturer on GI426 Gender and Human Rights; GI499 Dept. Gender Studies Dissertation course.