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 27: Gender and security

Jenny Russell and Valerie M. Hudson

Subjects: politics and public policy, international relations


Security studies has traditionally envisioned a “womanless world” of male actors and masculine instruments. However, a growing body of research treats gender as a category of analysis that makes significant contributions within conventionally defined security studies. The link between the treatment of women and the relative stability and security of nation-states is supported by an increasing number of empirical studies. Hudson et al. (2012) lay out the breadth and implications of this body of research, on which they ground the argument that gender is a variable whose impact on state behavior must be given the same consideration as long-studied variables such as economic wealth or political system. The definitions of “gender” and “security” are themselves nuanced and complex, and as such are outside the scope of this chapter; for a more thorough discussion of this subject, please see Hudson et al. (2008/09). Instead, this chapter will examine state security more narrowly as it relates to conflict and gender more specifically as it relates to the treatment of women within a state. The primary explanans in this body of research is the degree of gender inequality within a given society, that is, the degree to which women are subordinated conceptually, legally, and physically. This chapter examines a select handful of current research findings on gender and security in three categories: gender inequality and both inter- and intrastate conflict; gender inequality and conflict resolution, including peacekeeping operations; and the effect of conflict on gender inequality.

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