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Valerie M. Hudson

The purpose of the chapter is to trace the arc of the idea that there could be a “feminist” state foreign/security policy, and then to assess both the promise and the pitfalls of such a stance. In this case, the state would become the main agent promoting this human rights expansion. A feminist foreign/security policy (FFSP) would embrace the idea that human rights and national security are not contradictory goals of state policy unless we choose to see them as such. However, an FFSP would go further and also propose that women’s empowerment, women’s voice, and women’s security constitute the great bridge between the two aspirations. The selection of Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State in 2009, and her tenure until early 2013, provides a rich case study of how the “women, peace, and security” standpoint articulated by the United Nations could be translated into a state agenda. However, given the state’s top-down nature, there will always be problems with utilizing the state to expand and secure human rights. Understanding the nature and source of the problems faced in this case is instructive, including moral quandaries, state inconsistency, insincere genuflection, distorted participation, and perverse incentives.

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Jenny Russell and Valerie M. Hudson