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Feminist perspectives on autonomous weapon systems

This paper series provides feminist analyses of particular problems posed by the development and potential use of autonomous weapon systems.


Autonomous weapons and patriarchy unpacks the concepts of patriarchy and militarised masculinities and explains how these are relevant for an analysis of autonomous weapon systems. It outlines how the operation of weapons programmed to target and kill based on pre-programmed algorithms against people who are racialised, gendered, and otherwise categorised, will result in the violation of human rights and dignity. Overall, it argues the importance of confronting autonomous weapons not just as material technologies that need to be prohibited, but as manifestations of the broader policies and structures of violence that perpetuate an increasing abstraction of violence and devaluation of human life.

Autonomous weapons and gender-based violence describes gender-based violence (GBV) and how it relates to the militarised masculinities and mission of the patriarchy. It looks at the connections between the possession and use of weapons and the commission of acts of GBV, unpacking in particular arguments about autonomous weapons and sexual violence. Looking at the challenges that autonomous weapons will pose to accountability for violence, among other things, the paper also explores the relationship between these weapons and the broader culture of impunity inherent in gendered violence.

Written by Ray Acheson • Published in October 2020 by Reaching Critical Will, a programme of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom with the support of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

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