In recent years, legal commentators have begun to write on women in war: usually as the civilian victims of belligerent forces, sometimes as military victims of discrimination within their own armed forces. Very little has been written about women as belligerents. What has been written does not focus on the legal problems conventional forces face when women are "unprivileged belligerents"' who fail to comply with law of war requirements for combatant status. These problems can become acute when conventional forces are engaged in "Small Wars" where unarmed women often serve as auxiliaries to their unconventional opponents. Although legal sources have been remarkably silent about these problems, a number of examples are available. I have selected two involving unarmed women: one from Northern Ireland involving the British Army, and one from Somalia involving the American Army.
Michael F. Noone, Jr., Whacking Unarmed Women: Gaps in the Law of Armed Conflict, 9 DUKE J. GENDER L. & POL’Y 271 (2002).