Home » Articles » Correlation between gender equality and levels of violence » Do rights at home boost rights abroad? Sexual equality and humanitarian foreign policy.

Do rights at home boost rights abroad? Sexual equality and humanitarian foreign policy.

Brysk, A. and A. Mehta (2013). “Do rights at home boost rights abroad? Sexual equality and humanitarian foreign policy.” Journal of Peace Research.
Does women’s empowerment strengthen global good citizenship? We test theories of democratic foreign policy and feminist international relations that suggest that more deeply democratic countries with greater gender equity will be stronger international human rights promoters. First, the direct empowerment of women as policymakers and civil society constituencies may shift states’ incentives and ability to pursue international human rights initiatives. Second, greater sexual equality may lead to feminist socialization of the wider society to promote human rights values. We test these predictions by measuring the relationship between five different measures of sexual equality and a country’s propensity to support 30 international human rights outcomes, including legal commitments, humanitarian assistance, and sanctions, controlling for previously established contributing factors such as level of development and democratic regime type. We find that more sexually equal countries are more likely to support international commitments to constrain state violence against individuals, international measures to combat gender and sexual orientation discrimination, and more and higher quality development assistance. However, sexual equality appears to yield less benefit for more costly human rights initiatives: yielding sovereignty to international legal institutions, promoting economic rights through concessionary trade policies, or adopting diplomatic sanctions against pariah states. These effects are stronger in democratic states, where citizen empowerment translates more readily into foreign policy, and are also found in a sample that excludes the Western powers.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *