Category Archives: Correlation between gender equality and levels of violence
Roe, P. (2013). “Gender and ‘Positive’ Security.” International Relations.
Focusing predominantly on the works of Ken Booth and Bill McSweeney, this article explores how the normative commitment of the two writers to the individual referent and to a set of values constitutive of human agency is reflective of a more “positive” security. In particular, the article focuses on how in their formulation of values, both Booth (security as emancipation) and McSweeney (ontological security) draw on gender and feminist approaches and, importantly, how critical feminist scholarship can profitably be used to reconcile concentration on both the global and the local, thus providing greater conceptual clarity and empirical grounding to the positive security project.
The Civic Origins of Progressive Policy Change: Combating Violence against Women in Global Perspective, 1975-2005.
Htun, M. and S. L. Weldon (2012). “The Civic Origins of Progressive Policy Change: Combating Violence against Women in Global Perspective, 1975-2005.” American Political Science Review 106(3): 548-569.
Also see: http://www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=15541
Over the past four decades, violence against women (VAW) has come to be seen as a violation of human rights and an important concern for social policy. Yet government action remains uneven. Some countries have adopted comprehensive policies to combat VAW, whereas others have been slow to address the problem. Using an original dataset of social movements and VAW policies in 70 countries over four decades, we show that feminist mobilization in civil society – not intra-legislative political phenomena such as leftist parties or women in government or economic factors like national wealth – accounts for variation in policy development. In addition, we demonstrate that autonomous movements produce an enduring impact on VAWpolicy through the institutionalization of feminist ideas in international norms. This study brings national and global civil society into large-n explanations of social policy, arguing that analysis of civil society in general, and of social movements in particular, is critical to understanding progressive social policy change.
Just as rape and other forms of sexualized violence have historically been viewed as a “natural” part of war, they have often been recognized as occurring in genocide but not necessarily as an act of genocide in itself.
White, J. W. (1994). “Deconstructing the myth of the nonaggressive female: A feminist analysis.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 18: 477-498.
One of the most pervasive and undisputed gender stereotypes is that men are more aggressive than women. However, this stereotype has, until recently, led researchers to conclude that women are nonaggressive and, therefore, to ignore the topic of female aggression as a distinct phenomenon. The basis of the myth, factors supporting its maintenance, and theories of female aggression are examined. A feminist reinterpretation of aggression that views women’s and men’s aggressive behavior within social structural arrangements that create and sustain differential power relations is presented.
Tickner, J. A. (2002). “Feminist Perspectives on 9/11.” International Studies Perspectives 3(4): 333-350.
In this article I offer a feminist analysis of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. I demonstrate how gendered discourses are used in this and other conflict situations to reinforce mutual hostilities. I suggest that men’s association with war, fighting and national security serves to reinforce their legitimacy in world politics while it acts to create barriers for women. Using the framework of a post 9/11 world, I offer some alternative models of masculinity and some cultural representations less dependent on the subordination of women. Often in times of conflict women are seen only as victims. I outline some ways in which the women of Afghanistan are fighting against gender oppression and I conclude with some thoughts on their future prospects.
Tickner, J. A. (1997). “You just don’t understand: Troubled engagements between feminists and IR theorists.” International Studies Quarterly 41(4): 611-632.
This article reconstructs some conversational encounters between feminists and IR theorists and offers some hypotheses as to why misunderstandings so frequently result from these encounters, It claims that contemporary feminist perspectives on international relations are based on ontologies and epistemologies that are quite different from those that inform the conventional discipline. Therefore, they do not fit comfortably within conventional state-centric and structural approaches to IR theorizing, nor with the methodologies usually employed by IR scholars. As an illustration of how these differences can cause misunderstandings, the article offers some feminist perspectives on security, a concept central to the discipline. It also suggests how feminist approaches can offer some new ways to understand contemporary security problems. In conclusion, it suggests how feminist/IR engagements might be pursued more constructively.
Sjoberg, L. (2011). “Gender, the State, and War Redux: Feminist International Relations across the ‘Levels of Analysis’.” International Relations 25(1): 108-134.
In her recent article, ‘Women, the State, and War,’ in a special issue of this journal honoring Kenneth Waltz, Jean Elshtain explores the question of what if anything it does to ‘put gender in’ to analysis of Waltz’s three ‘images’ of International Relations, and determines that gender is not definitive or causal in war theorizing. This article suggests that, while the question is an important and appropriate one to ask, the evidence that Elshtain brings to bear and the tools she uses to answer the question are inadequate to the task and not reflective of the current ‘state of the field’ of feminist International Relations. Addressing the question of if gender ‘alters in significant ways’ ‘man, the state, and war,’ this article provides theoretical and empirical examples from the young but rich field of feminist International Relations to present readers with the substance of feminist claims and the warrants behind feminist arguments. It urges International Relations to decide on the question of the relevance of gender by taking work in the area seriously, and suggests that the discipline might be convinced that acknowledging gender is crucial if scholars engage with the literature that sees ‘man, the state, and war’ as gendered.
Regan, P. M. and A. Paskeviciute (2003). “Women’s access to politics and peaceful states.” Journal of Peace Research 40(3): 287-302.
The article examines the relationship between women in society and the use of force by the state in the international arena. The arguments build on a conception of power relationships found in gender studies and feminist theories, and focus on how the internal distribution of political power at a societal level (as opposed to a state level) will influence the willingness of the ruling elite to engage in militarized interstate disputes and war. That is, the article explores the extent to which fertility rates directly and indirectly – through women’s employment and political office – are associated with the use of force by a state. The authors draw on public opinion literature, which shows that women’s attitudes toward the use of force differ from those of men, to argue that the more women have access to the political process the more constrained will be the state in its use of force. The results of the analysis demonstrate that at the dyadic level, contiguous pairs of countries with low birthrates are less likely to go to war, while, more generally, the lower the birthrates the less likely is a country to become engaged in the more violent of militarized disputes. Our results suggest that policies to promote family planning might be one effective form of managing the amount of interstate violence.
Melander, E. (2005). “Gender equality and intrastate armed conflict.” International Studies Quarterly 49(4): 695-714.
In this article, I examine to what extent gender equality is associated with lower levels of intrastate armed conflict. I use three measures of gender equality: (1) a dichotomous indicator of whether the highest leader of a state is a woman; (2) the percentage of women in parliament; and (3) the female-to-male higher education attainment ratio. I argue that the first two measures in particular capture the extent to which women hold positions that allow them to influence matters of war and peace within a state. I further argue that all three measures, but especially the last two, capture how women are valued relative to men in a society, that is, the relative degree of subordination of women. Whereas female state leadership has no statistically significant effect, more equal societies, measured either in terms of female representation in parliament or the ratio of female-to-male higher education attainment, are associated with lower levels of intrastate armed conflict. The pacifying impact of gender equality is not only statistically significant in the presence of a comprehensive set of controls but also is strong in substantive terms.
Melander, E. (2005). “Political Gender Equality and State Human Rights Abuse.” Journal of Peace Research 42(2): 149-166.
Feminist theorists argue that more equal societies that are not based on gender hierarchies ought to be less plagued by collective violence. This study tests whether political gender equality is associated with lower levels of personal integrity rights abuse carried out by state agents, such as fewer political imprisonments, torture, killings, and disappearances. Two indicators of political gender equality are used: (1) a dummy indicating that the chief executive of a state is a woman; and (2) the percentage of women in parliament. The impact of political gender equality on personal integrity rights abuse is tested using multiple regression techniques and a dataset spanning most countries of the world during the period 1977-96. Female chief executives are rare, and their tenures are not significantly associated with the level of abuse. The percentage of women in parliament is associated with lower levels of personal integrity rights abuse. Results show both a direct effect of female representation in parliament and an effect in interaction with the level of institutional democracy. These results hold when controlling for the most important factors known or suspected to influence human rights behavior: democracy, leftist regime, military regime, British colonial experience, civil war, international war, wealth, population, ethnic heterogeneity, and regime transition and collapse.