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Deconstructing the myth of the nonaggressive female: A feminist analysis.

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.

Feminist Perspectives on 9/11.

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.

You just don’t understand: Troubled engagements between feminists and IR theorists.

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.

Gender, the State, and War Redux: Feminist International Relations across the ‘Levels of Analysis’.

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.

Women’s access to politics and peaceful states.

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.

Gender equality and intrastate armed conflict.

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.

Political Gender Equality and State Human Rights Abuse.

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.

How is Rape a Weapon of war?: Feminist International Relations, Modes of Critical Explanation and the Study of Wartime Sexual Violence.

Kirby, P. (2012). “How is Rape a Weapon of war?: Feminist International Relations, Modes of Critical Explanation and the Study of Wartime Sexual Violence.” European Journal of International Relations.
Rape is a weapon of war. This now common claim reveals wartime sexual violence as a social act marked by gendered power. But this consensus also obscures important, and frequently unacknowledged, differences in ways of understanding and explaining it. This article opens these differences to analysis. It interprets feminist accounts of wartime sexual violence in terms of modes of critical explanation and differentiates three modes – of instrumentality, unreason and mythology – which implicitly structure different understandings of how rape might be a weapon of war. These modes shape political and ethical projects and so impact not only on questions of scholarly content but also on the ways in which we attempt to mitigate and abolish war rape. Exposing these disagreements opens up new possibilities for the analysis of war rape.

The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States.

Hudson, V. M., M. Caprioli, et al. (2008). “The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States.” International Security 33(3): 7-45.
Does the security of women influence the security and behavior of states? Existing evidence linking the situation of women to state-level variables such as economic prosperity and growth, health, and corruption is fairly conclusive. Questions remain, however, concerning the degree to which state security and state security-related behavior is linked to the security of women. The “women and peace” thesis draws upon evolutionary biology/psychology for ultimate causes of this linkage, and sociological theories of social diffusion and psychological theories of social learning for more proximate causal mechanisms. Together, a new data resource–the WomanStats Database–and conventional methodology find a robust, positive relationship between the physical security of women and three measures of state security and peacefulness. In addition, a comparison of this proposition to alternative explanations involving level of democracy, level of economic development, and civilizational identity shows that the physical security of women is a better predictor of state security and peacefulness. Although these results are preliminary, it is still possible to conclude that the security of women must not be overlooked in the study of state security, especially given that the research questions to be raised and the policy initiatives to be considered in the promotion of security will differ markedly if the security of women is seriously considered as a significant influence on state security.

What Is the Relationship between Inequity in Family Law and Violence against Women? Approaching the Issue of Legal Enclaves.

Hudson, V. M., D. L. Bowen, et al. (2011). “What Is the Relationship between Inequity in Family Law and Violence against Women? Approaching the Issue of Legal Enclaves.” Politics & Gender 7(4): 453-492.
“Family law” is the term applied to the legal regulation of marriage and parenthood within a society, and may serve to express a society’s accepted ideals concerning male-female relations. Adopting a feminist evolutionary analytic (FEA) approach, we hypothesize that nation-states with higher degrees of inequity in family law favoring men, codifying an evolutionary legacy of male dominance and control over female reproduction, will experience higher rates of violence against women. This hypothesis is borne out in conventional statistical analysis, both bivariate and multivariate, suggesting that policy attention to family law so as to make it more concordant with norms of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) may have salutatory effects on women’s physical security over time. These results may also have policy implications for societies with, or contemplating, enclaves of inequitable family law.