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Position: Assistant Professor in Gender, Race and the Law; Sheila Lesley Fellow at Girton

Institution: Faculty of Law, Girton College


Research interests: History of International LawDispute Settlements, International human rights lawLaw of global governanceInternational law and domestic lawTheory of international law




Lena Holzer is an Assistant Professor in Gender, Race and the Law in the Law Faculty at the University of Cambridge and serves as Sheila Lesley Fellow at Girton College. Her research focuses on critical feminist, queer and intersectional approaches to international law with a focus on human rights law and sports law. Prior to joining the University of Cambridge, she worked as a Lecturer in Law at Goldsmiths, University of London and as Academic Supervisor at the Geneva Graduate Institute. She obtained her PhD in International Law, with a minor degree in International Relations, from the Geneva Graduate Institute and has acted as consultant for several European human rights NGOs aside her academic work. She is currently working on a book project tracing how international law has played a role in making binary gender categories part of people’s individual legal identity. Another project of hers examines the gendered and racialised nature of international sports regulations and global inequalities in the governance of sports.


Journal articles:

Holzer, Lena, Bérénice K. Schramm, Juliana Santos de Carvalho, and Manon Beury. ‘An Introduction to International Law Dis/Oriented: Sparking Queer Futures in International Law’. Australian Feminist Law Journal 49, no. 1 (2 January 2023): 1–15.

Abdelkarim, Shaimaa, Farnush Ghadery, Rohini Sen, and Lena Holzer. ‘A Roundtable Conversation: Feminist Collaborative Ethos in International Law’. Australian Feminist Law Journal 49, no. 1 (2023): 123–39.

Smith, Jess, Pieter Cannoot, Pierre Cloutier de Repentigny, Lena Holzer, Shelley Leung, Tanya Ni Mhuirthile, Evan Vipond, and Nipuna Varman. ‘Roundtable on Deregistration and Gender Law Reform Internationally’. Feminist Legal Studies 31, no. 1 (2023): 145–61.

Holzer, Lena. “Legal gender recognition in times of change at the European Court of Human Rights”, ERA Forum, 2022, available at

Holzer, Lena; Beury, Manon; Santos De Carvalho, Juliana; Schramm, Bérénice K. “Queer Conference-Convening in International Law”, AJIL Unbound, Vol. 116, January 2022, available at

Holzer, Lena. 2020. “What Does It Mean to Be A Woman in Sports? An Analysis of the Jurisprudence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.” Human Rights Law Review 20(3): 387–411, available at

Holzer, Lena. 2020. “Smashing the Binary? A New Era of Legal Gender Registration in the Yogyakarta Principles Plus 10.” International Journal of Gender, Sexuality and Law 1 (1): 98-133, available at

Holzer, Lena. 2019. “Sexually Dimorphic Bodies: A Production of Birth Certificates.” Australian Feminist Law Journal 45 (1): 91–110, available at

Book chapters:
Holzer, Lena. 2021. “La Définition Juridique de l’Identité de Genre En Europe.” In Bérénice K. Schramm (ed.), Queer(s) et Droit International. Études Réseau Olympe. 287-332, Paris: Société de législation comparée, 2021.

Reports and working papers:

Holzer, Lena; Beury, Manon. “Orientations as a 3-Dimensional Tool for Practising Positionality in International Law.” Law Working Paper Series, European University Institute, 2022, available at

Holzer, Lena. 2018. “Non-Binary Gender Registration Models in Europe. Report on Third Gender Marker or No Gender Marker Options.” Working Paper. ILGA-Europe, available at

Blog posts:
Holzer, Lena. ‘The European Court of Human Rights in the Caster Semenya Case: Opening a New Door for Protecting the Rights of Persons with Variations of Sex Characteristics and Human Rights in Sports’. Opinio Juris (blog), 4 August 2023.

Holzer, Lena. “The Decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in the Caster Semenya Case: A Human Rights and Gender Analysis.” Opinio Juris (blog), September 30, 2020, available at