Table of Contents

Handbook on Gender in World Politics

Handbook on Gender in World Politics

International Handbooks on Gender series

Edited by Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe

The Handbook on Gender in World Politics is an up-to-date, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary compendium of scholarship in gender studies. The text provides an indispensable reference guide for scholars and students interrogating gender issues in international and global contexts. Substantive areas covered include: statecraft, citizenship and the politics of belonging, international law and human rights, media and communications technologies, political economy, development, global governance and transnational visions of politics and solidarities.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe-Belfrage

Subjects: politics and public policy, international relations


When Edward Elgar invited us to co-edit this Handbook on Gender in World Politics, we could not but respond enthusiastically. At the end of the United Nations Decade for Women in 1985, gender was still commonly regarded as, at best, a marginal issue in world politics. Today gender is slowly, yet surely, being mainstreamed into the day-to-day operations of all major international institutions, in regional and national policy-making bodies and development organizations and in legislatures the world over. While we might – and do – continue to debate whether or not commitment to ‘gender mainstreaming’ on the part of political elites is largely rhetorical or increasingly substantive and meaningful, it cannot be denied that gender is now widely recognized as central to the practice of international politics. Concomitantly, gender has emerged as a dynamic field of study across the social sciences. While there is a long-established literature on gender in the academic disciplines of sociology, political science and development studies, during the past three decades scholars working in international relations, international political economy, international law and geography have also made substantive contributions to cutting-edge disciplinary debates and produced weighty empirical studies. One of the pleasures to be had in working on gender in world politics is the opportunities that it affords to engage with scholars in workshops and conferences and in academic journals that bring together academics and postgraduate researchers from many fields of study.