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War's Offensive on Women: The Humanitarian Challenge in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan

Julie A. Mertus
War's Offensive on Women: The Humanitarian Challenge in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan
ISBN: 978-1-56549-117-5
2000/157 pages/LC: 00-056833
A Kumarian Press Book
Published in association with the Humanitarianism and War Project

"Julie Mertus uses women's own voices and richly detailed case studies to show us precisely how so many humanitarian aid operations manage to ignore the experiences and needs of women in war zones. Mertus goes beyond the problems, and maps out pragmatic solutions. This is a terrific book for practitioners, activists, and scholars alike."—Cynthia Enloe, Clark University

"Provides a wealth of information on the difficulties faced by intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations in providing protection and assistance to women affected by armed conflict.... The text offers vivid case studies and a valuable set of guidelines for improving practice in the delivery of humanitarian relief and protection."—Joan Fitzpatrick, University of Washington School of Law

"Superbly captures the special needs and capacities of refugee, displaced, and other war-affected women while pinpointing the successes, and too often, failures in humanitarian responses. Although it is a sad story in many respects—one replete with rape, sexual torture, and other gender-based abuses—War's Offensive on Women leaves the reader with hope for the future by setting out concrete recommendations to improve the lives of women caught in the crossfire of conflict situations."—Susan Martin, Georgetown University


Julie Mertus explores, with cautious optimism, the progress that has been made in incorporating women and responding to gender issues in the process of dealing with humanitarian crises.


Julie A. Mertus is professor in the School of International Service at American University.


  • Foreword—Larry Minear.
  • Introducing a Gender Perspective in Humanitarian Action.
  • Applying a Gender Perspective.
  • Clarifying the Legal Framework.
  • Looking Ahead.
  • Afterword.