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Baylis , Smith an d Owens: The Globa lization of World Pol itics 6e

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Cha pter 17: G ender in world pol itics

Th ere are m any femini st theories . They incl ude libera l, Marxist, socialist,

post-

col lonial, and poststruct ural.

 

All feminist t heories are

trying to explain wo men’s sub ordination : however , they all

ha ve differen t reasons for women ’s subordi nation.

 

Fe minists de fine gende r as a set of socially construct ed charact eristics th at define

wh at we mea n by mas culinity an d femininit y.

 

Ge nder is a

system of social hier archy in w hich masc uline char acteristics are more

val lued than f eminine o nes.

 

Ge nder is a

structure t hat signifie s unequal power rel ationships between

women

an d men.

IR feminists use gende r-sensitive

lenses to help them answer q uestions a bout why

wo men often play subo rdinate ro les in glob al politics.

 

Lib eral femin ists believ e that wom

men’s equ

lity can b

achieved by remov ing legal

ob stacles tha t deny wo men the s ame oppo rtunities a

men.

Po st-liberal f eminists a rgue that

we must lo ok more d eeply at u nequal ge

dered

str uctures in order to u nderstand women’s subordinat ion.

 

Fe minist criti cal theoris ts show h ow both id eas and m aterial stru ctures sh ape

pe ople’s live s, and how

changes in the me

ning of ge nder have

changed the

pr actices of i nternation al organiz ations ove r time.

 

Fe minist con structivists

show us the variou s ways in

which idea s about ge nder

sh ape and a re shaped by global politics.

Po ststructura l feminists

claim tha t there is a

link betw een knowl edge and power.

Sin nce men h ave gener ally been s een as kn owers and as subjec ts of know ledge,

 
Baylis , Smith an d Owens: T he Glob a lization of World Pol itics 6e

© Oxford University Press, 20 14.

Baylis , Smith an d Owens: The Globa lization of World Pol itics 6e

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thi s influence s how we see globa l politics.

Po st-colonial feminists suggest th at women ’s subordi nation mu st be differ entially

un derstood i n terms of race, clas s, and geo graphical location.

 

Tr aditional st ories abou t war, whi ch portray men as p rotectors a nd wome

and

chi ildren as b eing prote cted, are s everely c

allenged

by today’s wars, in w hich

wo men and

children ar e being kil led and inj ured in lar ge numbe rs.

 

W ar’s associ ation with masculinit y and the image of a soldier as

a heroic male are

ch allenged b y an incre asing num ber of wo men in mili taries arou nd the wo rld.

Mil litarized m asculinity i s popular when stat es are pre occupied w with nation al security

thr eats; cons equently c onciliatory

options in

policy-m aking tend to get dis counted

an d it is diffic ult for wo men’s voic es to be re garded as

legitimate e, particula rly in

ma tters of se curity poli cy.

Fe minists de fine securi ty broadly to include the dimin ution of all forms of v iolence:

ph ysical, eco nomic, an d ecologic al.

A gender-se nsitive per spective h elps us se e how wo men’s relat ive disadv antage to

me n in terms of materi al well-bei ng is due t o the gend ered divis ion of labo ur.

 

Th e gendere d division of labour d ates back to sevent eenth-cent tury Europ e and the

su bsequent

separation of paid w ork in the

public sph

re from u npaid work

in the

pri vate sphe re, a separ ation that has an eff ect on the kind of wo rk that wo men do in

the

public sp here.

W omen are

disproporti onately clu ustered in low-paid jo bs in garm

ment indus tries,

se rvices, and

home-ba sed work, or in subs istence ag riculture.

 

In addition to paid work , women

perform m ost of the

npaid rep roductive and caring

lab our in the private sp here, labo ur that is i nvisible in economic analysis.

This

 
Baylis , Smith an d Owens: T he Glob a lization of World Pol itics 6e

© Oxford University Press, 20 14.

Baylis , Smith an d Owens: The Globa lization of World Pol itics 6e

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co nstrains w omen’s ch oices in th e public s phere.

Sin nce waged work can be empow ering for

women, ev en when t hey are pa id less

tha n men, w e must not overgene ralize abo ut the neg ative effect ts of the g endered

div ision of la bour.

Mu ch of the success in moving to wards ge nder equal ity is due t o women’ s

org anizing in NGOs an d social m ovements . This has resulted in

getting w omen’s

iss ues on the

policy ag endas of t he United Nations a

d other in tergovern mental

org anization s.

Fe minists be lieve that f eminist kn owledge s hould be

useful for i mproving

women’s

liv es, and ma ny femini

t social m ovements are inform ed by fem inist know ledge.

Da ta disaggr egated by sex are vi tal for iden tifying wo men’s pro blems and lobbying

for change. T he adopti on of the G ender De velopment Index by the United Nations

ha s helped u s to see w here prob lems are m ost acute and to tra ck eviden

e of

im provement .

Ge nder main streaming , which ha s been ad opted by c ertain inte rnational

org anization s and natio nal gover nments, is a policy th at evaluat es legislat ion in

ter ms of whe ther it is li kely to incr rease or re duce gen der equalit y.

 
Baylis , Smith an d Owens: T he Glob a lization of World Pol itics 6e

© Oxford University Press, 20 14.