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A Feminist Perspective on the Nuclear Weapon Discourse and its Gendered Consequences

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A Feminist Perspective on the Nuclear Weapon Discourse and its Gendered
PhD Candidate in International Relations at Cyprus International University
Master’s Degree in Business Administration
Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Public Administration
Notes on the Contributor
Cheludo Tinaye Butale is a PhD candidate in the Department of International Relations at Cyprus International
University. Her main research interests are in the area of Global Governance, International
Security, International Political Economy and International Development. She has previous work experience
from the Office of the President and Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Botswana.
Nuclear weapons continue to be seen as a crucial aspect of international security. However, the international
security discourse tends to overlook the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons which has led to various
feminists questioning the importance and effectiveness of the nuclear weapon discourse. This paper explores the
nuclear weapons discourse and the gendered consequences of the discourse. It examines the way in which
the nuclear weapons discourse and practices favour ideas of masculinity over femininity which has created
barriers towards ending nuclear weapons and bringing about effective disarmament. I argue that the gendered
language used within nuclear discourses has resulted in a gendered masculine-coded language and values
based on rationality or state interests that exclude feminist’s values of including a humanitarian perspective
within the nuclear discourse. A feminist theory, mainly post-structural feminism shall be used to show how
international security is a gendered phenomenon which articulates masculinity forms of nuclear discourses.
Few if any studies use the post-structural feminism theory to critique the nuclear discourse. The paper
concludes by suggesting ways the nuclear discourse can be improved and made effective.
Keywords: Femininity, Masculinity, Nuclear Discourse, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty.
1.1 Introduction
The international community efforts to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons continue to be
a challenge globally and have reached a deadlock. This is despite the adoption of the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Arms Trade
Treaty, and other nuclear policies in preventing the distribution of nuclear weapons
worldwide (United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs 2018b).Nuclear weapons
continue to exist within a militaristic understanding of security, where „high politics‟
(state's security and survival) and the principle of deterrence have been regarded as important
aspects for countries acquiring nuclear weapons (Vail, 2017).
Furthermore, the anarchical (lack of world government) international system has led to
various states making sure their security needs are protected, and nuclear weapons fulfil their
aim within an anarchical world (Sabadus 2009). Nuclear weapons have therefore, made it
possible for states to maintain military and economic dominance (Sabadus 2009). They
(nuclear weapons) create a gendered power hierarchy in the world; with countries with
nuclear weapons, that is great powers, having power over states without nuclear weapons
(Vail, 2017). States with nuclear weapons have further been associated with masculine traits
of strength and power which have made it difficult to discuss nuclear disarmament issues
(Vail, 2017). According to Enloe (2004), countries continue to acquire nuclear weapons to
show masculine strength or power. The masculine traits reflect how weapons of mass
destruction are justified, conducted in favour masculinity over femininity (Enloe, 2004).
Furthermore, the discourse on nuclear weapons has mainly been created by men that have
dominated the field of security with militarised values or beliefs about human history
understood through weapons, war and power (Enloe, 2004: 219-220; Rycenga and Waller,
2001:121).The highly militarised masculinity values have resulted in gendered meanings and
characterizations embedded within the nuclear weapon discourse which has had a negative
impact on achieving sustainable development goals on gender equality (Hudson, 2010). This
paper explores how nuclear weapons discourses continue to rely on hierarchical gender
constructions. In contribution to the nuclear discourse analyses, a feminist perspective shows
the gaps in knowledge of the nuclear discourse and the significance of gender in the nuclear
Gender maybe described as socially constructed gender roles and representations that vary in
different contexts and change in time and space (Butler, 1990). Gender roles are affected by
other factors such as age, class, race and ethnicity. Gender is further opposed to biological
and physical characteristics or traits but focuses of structural relationship or equal power
relations between men and women (Butler, 1990). Enloe (2004) has exposed and criticised
the relation between masculinity and militarism, where war is associated with masculinity
and femininity regarded as weak. Feminists have therefore, been critical of the discourses of
weapons of mass destruction and embraced peace and human security. Various feminists
have focused on dismantling masculine norms associated with nuclear weapon discourses
(Annan 2000: 17). They have challenged security norms that value nuclear weapons and
overlook the impacts of nuclear detonation. The following section discusses various
international frameworks or international instruments relevant to gender and the nuclear
discourse and is followed by a discussion NPT regime that has committed to nuclear
1.2 International Frameworks Relevant to Gender and the Nuclear Discourse
The international community continues to recognise the importance gender equality and
nuclear disarmament in achieving the sustainable development goals(ILPI and UNIDIR.
2016). Several international instruments are therefore, in place to address the gendered
dimension of the nuclear discourse. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is a human rights treaty formed in 1979, to
address the discrimination against women. The treaty has also focused on nuclear
disarmament, and recognised the importance of nuclear disarmament in promoting social
development, as well as recognises the effects of women in conflict prevention, conflict and
post-conflict situations (ILPI and UNIDIR. 2016). Similarly, the United Nations Security
Council together with women‟s organisations adopted a resolution on Women, Peace and
Security (UNSCR 1325), that addresses the equal participation of women and men in peace
and security (ILPI and UNIDIR. 2016). The resolution recognises the different effects of
armed conflict between women and men and supports the inclusion of women in decision-
making process of conflict prevention and resolution (ILPI and UNIDIR. 2016).
In 2010, the UN General Assembly also passed several resolutions on „Women, disarmament,
non-proliferation and arms control (Mishra, 2018). Resolution 65/69 on „Women,
disarmament proliferation and arms control‟ was adopted to focus on the effects of
disarmament and arms control on human rights. Other resolutions have included resolution
67/48(2012), 68/33 (2013), and 69/61 (2014) (Mishra, 2018). The resolutions have provided
ways of increasing women‟s inclusion in peace and reconstruction processes. Increasing
women‟s participation in decision-making processes has been regarded as important in
promoting peace and security. There has further been an emerging research on the positive
link between gender equality and peace within societies (ILPI and UNIDIR. 2016).However,
despite the positive correlation between gender equality and peace within societies, issues
concerning gender equality within the disarmament and arms control processes continue to be
limited which has affected peace within various societies. The following section seeks to
understand how the Nuclear Non -Proliferation Treaty regime operates and understand how
a gender perspective has been incorporated within NPT in preventing the proliferation of
nuclear weapons.
1.3 The Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty Regime
The NPT tends to be regarded as the foundation of the global nuclear non-proliferation and
disarmament regime. The NPT is a binding multilateral treaty that entered into force in 1970
with 191 states having subscribed to it (Bunn 2003; Potter 2010).It consists of Nuclear-
Weapon States (NWS) and Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) that have committed to
nuclear disarmament. The five NWS include the Unites States, Russia, China, France, and
Britain. The main aim of the NPT is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons,
encourage nuclear disarmament among nuclear weapons states and promote the use of
nuclear energy through peaceful means (Bunn 2003; Potter 2010).Furthermore,the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been created as an implementing body
for the NPT treaty. The IAEA monitors compliance of the treaty and imposes sanctions
to non-compliant states (Bunn 2003; Potter 2010).The IAEA has therefore, played an
important role in regulating nuclear weapons and promoting the peaceful use of nuclear
energy but has not focused on nuclear disarmament. The United Nations Security Council
that also has the responsibility of enforcing the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, tends
to also disregard issues concerning disarmament. Various scholars continue to argue that the
NPT is not a sustainable policy concept (Tannenwald, 2013:299).According to Tannenwald
(2013:299) the NPT cannot be a sustainable policy because non-nuclear states have criticised
the treaty for having double standard of allowing the five nuclear states to have the right to
nuclear weapons but denied other states to possess nuclear weapons. The NWS have further
been criticised for having the ability to monitor non-nuclear weapons states‟ adherence to
safeguards on all source or fissile material.
The governance challenge of the NPT regime has therefore, been seen where the NNWS are
supposed to forgo nuclear weapons, while the nuclear-armed states agree to pursue nuclear
disarmament in good faith (Article VI) (George et al, 2007). As of 2012, the Stockholm
International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated the number of nuclear weapons
worldwide was approximately 19,000 warheads (Scott,1994:96). The nuclear armed states,
USA and Russia, continue to retain massive stockpiles of nuclear warheads despite the
NNWS call for NWS to reduce in their nuclear weapons (Gartzke & Kroenig , 2013:1).
These NWS have further been criticised by the NNWS for undermining the NPT
legitimacy. Scholars have further argued that the NPT and other nuclear policies operate as
colonial restrictions where fewer states, NWS, retain power or political influence and the
NNWS regard as rogue states for possessing the nuclear weapons (Gartzke & Kroenig ,
1.3.1The Role of Transnational Networks in the NPT Regime
Transnational networks have been at the forefront in supporting nuclear disarmament under
article VI, but have also raised concerns that their engagement in the decision-making of the
NPT Review Conference (RevCon) and the NPT Preparatory Committees
(PrepComs)debates continues to be limited (Acheson, 2015a).The RevCon and NPT
Preparatory Committees (PrepComs) discussions occur to review and scrutinise procedural
issues concerning the treaty through the guidance of transnational networks such as the
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) (Acheson,2015a). ICAN is a
transnational advocacy network that consists of approximately 440 civil society organisations
in over 100 countries (Acheson,2015a). It is a coalition consisting of non-government
organizations, from local peace groups to global federations (Acheson,2015a). ICAN was
further launched at the 2007 PrepCom, and was supported by the International Physicians for
the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), to reframe the nuclear weapon discourse and
include a humanitarian perspective. Kissling‟s (2013:174) has however, argued that the
RevCon deliberative discussions tend to be dominated by powerful delegates and have
limited public scrutiny which has resulted in limited reforms. According to Kissling
(2013:70) the main deliberative spaces within the NPT have lacked the participation of
civil society organisations. However, ICAN has been praised for shaping the Humanitarian
Impact on Nuclear Weapons (HINW) Initiative that addresses the humanitarian impact of
nuclear weapons (Acheson,2015a).
The main aim of the Humanitarian Initiative is to focus on the negative effects of nuclear
weapon detonation due to radioactive contamination. The humanitarian initiative has been
able to obtain support among various states and has allowed the survivors and victims‟
affected by nuclear explosions worldwide to have their voices heard within the RevCon and
PrepCom . Previously, they had have been excluded from the disarmament discussions. The
inclusion of survivors and victims‟ experiences has given agency and empowerment to the
development of a humanitarian discourse (Borrie, 2014). The Humanitarian Initiative has also
been able to ensure that the RevCon and PrepCom is not strictly based on professional
experts but also prioritises on the representation of people including women of diverse
backgrounds (Acheson,2015a).However, there have been concerns that women are
represented at lower levels in the RevCon than in other disarmament forums (Beenes, 2018).
In 2015, the RevCon consisted of 73.5% men and 26.5% women (Mirsha, 2008). Gender
imbalances have also been visible within the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty negotiations in
2017. However unlike the NPT, the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty or the Treaty on the
Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is more gender-sensitive than the NPT or other
nuclear policies. This is because the preamble of the TPNW acknowledges the humanitarian
or gender dimension of the impact of nuclear weapons. The preamble of the NPT mentions
humanitarian concern but has not been able to have an impact on deterrence doctrines over
time. Generally, the disarmament or nuclear discussions on issues concerning the harmful
effects nuclear weapons has limited the participation of women (Bukovansky et al 2012:
87). The decision making process of RevCon and PrepCom has been biased by not
incorporating the views of women which has resulted in gendered nuclear policies. The
following section explores how feminist theory can be used to understand the gendered
nuclear policy and argues against the realist discourse on nuclear weapons.
1.4 Feminist Theory in International Relations
Within International Relations (IR), feminism can be traced to the 1980s where various
feminist scholars were interested in finding out why the discipline of IR tends to be
masculine in nature and neglect a gender perspective (Tickner, 1999; Youngs, 2004).
Feminist scholars argued that the academic discipline of IR is dominated by mainstream or
conventional theories of IR such as realism and liberalism that represent a partial view of
world politics (Enloe, 2002a). In his book, Theory of International Politics, Kenneth Waltz
the neorealist, focused on the theory of imperialism, where he indicated that the main cause
of war could be traced to capitalist states that needed to open new markets in different
countries in order to improve their economic system (Waltz, 1979). Waltz also linked the
cause of war to the anarchical international system where there is no sovereign body to
govern independent nation-states. He (Waltz) further published a monograph indicating that
the proliferation of nuclear weapons was able to increase the probability of international
peace (Waltz, 1979). However, within the 1980s, various feminist scholars criticised the
gendered nature of the nuclear disarmament discourse. They criticised the nuclear
disarmament discourse for its realist approach of masculine-constructed values and hard
versus soft security values (Peterson and Runyan, 1993: 19).
Security or defense policies tend to be defined according to the realism approach based on
states interests and power optimization. According to Peterson and Runyan (1993: 19) many
states have nuclear weapons to maintain power and security. Furthermore, Tickner (2001)
argues that states focus on physically destroying other countries or bargaining relationships
with other states through the exercise of force and violence. The violence has been culturally
coded as masculine, and legitimized through nuclear weapons (Tickner 2001).Feminists
have criticised the traditional approach of security of excluding human security as an
alternative to state-centric security concepts(Løvold, 2013:145). Various feminist theorists
and peace activists have argued against the traditional approach to security (Tickner,
2001).They have questioned notions of security and exposed how gender and power operates
in international relations through masculinity ideas. Furthermore, poststructuralist feminists
have shown how the state in its realist thought, creates the subject and subjectivity or
self/other distinction which is gendered or sexualised (Cohn, 1987:690). The „other‟ tends to
be feminised, and underpins a masculine or hyper-masculine response. Moreover, the „other‟
tends to be „regarded as weak or deficient, while masculinity regarded as rational within
security discourses (Tickner, 2001: 48).Anti-war feminists have shared similar views with
other feminists that the state is dominated by men and political elites that disregard non-
violent alternatives to war (Enloe, 2002a). Furthermore, unlike just war theorists that
support wars from the war-system, anti-war feminists have been critical of the political,
economic, social and moral impacts of wars(Tickner, 2001: 48).The feminist support
„bottom-up‟ approaches to challenge the top-down approach to security. The feminists
oppose state-centric approaches and gendered hierarchies, which have a harmful effect on the
general populace(Tickner, 2001: 48).
Furthermore, various feminists indicate that structural inequality or unequal power relations
between men and women result in poor health care, wage gaps, sexual harassment, and
unequal distribution of resources between men and women (Løvold, 2013:145). According
to Tickner (2001: 48), a gender lens is important to understand global politics better, and
make necessary structural changes. The following sections shows how gender and power
influence the nuclear discourse. The post-structural feminism concepts of power, knowledge
and subjectivity shall be used to give a clearer picture of how gender and power shapes the
nuclear discourse. Foucault‟s concept of power/ knowledge guides the post-structural
feminism approach on ways to understand the framing or interpretation of policies (Foucault
1.5 A Feminist Critique of the Nuclear Discourse
Gender is associated with the language use in world politics today. A feminist approach to the
nuclear weapons discourse mainly focuses on understanding the masculine and patriarchal
language used in the nuclear discourse that creates silences and absences(Fletcher, 1999:17).
Tickner ( 2001) argues that the global community abides by the cultures of masculinity in the
language of disarmament and ignores feminine values(Tickner, 2001). Feminist such as Carol
Cohn‟s have further published work on, Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense
Intellectuals’ in 1987 to show how the nuclear discourse uses techno-strategic
language(Cohn,1987:690). According to Cohn (1987: 690), the nuclear weapons discourse is
gendered or sexualised through the techno-strategic language that is used to describe
nuclear weapons. Cohn (1987:690) states that the use of nuclear weapons is sexualised and
marginalises femininity by favouring masculinity.Feminine ideas of being involved in
diplomatic discussions and negotiations have been overlooked or seen as negative, while
masculine acts of acquiring nuclear weapons in order to assure deterrence has become the
main objective of patriarchal masculinity(Cohn,1987:690). Furthermore, the language within
the nuclear discourse includes the user‟s views of nuclear weapons and excludes the victims
view of nuclear weapons. Through the analysis of texts and their meaning, post-structuralist
feminists seeks to expose and deconstruct binary categories of male/female, us/them,
friend/enemy , strong/weak, protector/protected (Ferree, 2009). The analysis of texts shows
how relations of power are constructed and maintained by granting normality and naturalness
through discourse which leads to gender inequality (Ferree, 2009). Tickner & Sjoberg
(2010:201) indicate that binary categories are considered to be natural and left unchallenged.
According to the former Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear
policies have been misguided by ideas about masculinity that are associated with strength and
resulted in nuclear disarmament seen as somehow emasculating if associated with feminine
traits of passive, emotional or weak (ILPI and UNIDIR 2016: 16 17).
In this regard, the NPT values nuclear weapons as a source of power, strength or masculinity.
The NWS has further interfered in global politics, by dictating which nuclear weapons pose
a threat and which do not which has emasculated other states (ILPI and UNIDIR 2016). The
USA which is part of the NWS , has further been seen as a country that has used nuclear
weapons in wartime against human beings , but continues to instruct other countries such as
India, Pakistan, and Korea not to develop nuclear capabilities but tolerate Israel developing
nuclear capabilities (ILPI and UNIDIR 2016). The USA has been seen to operate as a global
father figure of deciding which states should have nuclear weapon and which states should
not have nuclear weapons. According to the post-structural feminist approach, the binary
categories or power constructs of legitimate versus illegitimate states, us versus them, or
men versus women show whose opinions matter the most and whose opinion does not matter
in global politics (Ferree, 2009). Deconstructing the gendered meanings and characterizations
embedded throughout the discourse and politics of nuclear weapons helps to confront the
traditionally constructed meanings or language that legitimises injustices (Tickner &
Sjoberg, 2010:201).Post-structural feminist redefine terms such as „strength‟ and „security‟ so
that they reflect the needs of all people(Tickner & Sjoberg, 2010:201). According to
poststrucutral feminists and discourse experts, in order to make disarmament possible, the
nuclear weapons should be devalued through deconstructing discourses that legitimise
masculinity so that the nuclear discourse can benefit from a diverse set of perspectives
(Tickner & Sjoberg,2010:201).Deconstructing discourses is also important to prevent gender
based violence which may take place due to the arms trade.Nuclear weapons have a
disproportionate impact on women and children. A diverse set of perspectives on the effects
of nuclear weapons is therefore, important to address the humanitarian impact of nuclear
1.6 Gendered impact of Nuclear Weapons
The previous section discussed the gendered nature of the nuclear discourse. A feminist
analysis was further useful in unpacking how the nuclear discourse is gendered. This section
unpacks the gendered impact of ionizing radiation from nuclear weapons detonation.It
focuses on relevant issues on how nuclear weapons affect men and women differently which
tends to be ignored in the nuclear weapon discourse. Ionizing radiation emitted through
nuclear explosions has had harmful effects to both men and women but affected them
differently (ILPI and UNIDIR 2016). There has therefore, been both sex-specific impacts
concerning the biological effects of radiation, and gender-specific impacts based on socially
constructed roles of men and women. The following section discusses the effects of nuclear
weapon detonations.
16.1Gender Effects of Ionizing Radiation from Nuclear Weapons
Various studies have indicated that ionizing radiation from nuclear weapons has had health
effects on women and men. Studies that have focused on the effects of ionizing radiation
have further shown that women are more vulnerable to its harmful effects than men because
they have 50% more high risk sensitive body tissue and metabolism differences to that of
men (Borie,2014). It has been proven that the health effects of ionizing radiation include high
cancer incidence and mortality risk due to the exposure to it (ILPI and UNIDIR 2016). In
1945, the nuclear bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan resulted in the significant
radiation release into the environment. Women as compared to men were mostly affected by
breast cancer due to ionizing radiation exposure (ILPI and UNIDIR 2016). Furthermore,
pregnant women exposed to the high levels doses of ionizing radiation risked spontaneous
abortions as well as stillbirth (ILPI and UNIDIR 2016). Moreover, the environmental
contamination from radiation has also had psychological effects on women and men. In
Hiroshima and Nagasaki the survivors of the bombings (hibakusha) faced radiation-related
social stigma. The hibakusha, or survivors of the bombings included men and women that
were treated with suspicion and deemed „contaminated‟ (ILPI and UNIDIR, 2016 ). The
cultural beliefs in Japan further contributed to marriage discrimination due to the dangers of
radiation being associated with „contaminated blood‟ of female survivors (ILPI and UNIDIR,
2016). Women rather than men were further blamed of sterility or abnormality in offspring.
This therefore, had psychological effects on women and most of them suffered mental illness
because they were forced to have abortions or social stigma. They were forced to have
abortions because of the risks associated with ionizing radiation. In 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine
the nuclear accident resulted in pregnant women experiencing more stress than men because
they were forced to have abortions without being given any explanation (ILPI and UNIDIR,
Furthermore, the destruction caused by nuclear explosions in a populated area often results in
the risk of radioactive fallout leading to evacuation and displacement. Displacement often
affects women differently to men due to their gendered roles (Bories, 2014). A case in point
can be seen in the Marshall Island matriarchal society where land was passed from mother to
child. The displacement from land due to nuclear testing however, prevented the indigenous
Marshallese women to exercise their cultural rights in their land (Todeshini, 1999:73). The
displacement therefore, led to a situation where women have not been able to generate
income due to the loss of their property and lack of access to materials they need to make
handicrafts (Todeshini,1999:73).Similarly, the Marshallese men were affected by
displacement . The men were responsible for ensuring that their families had food through
their food-gathering skills (Todeshini,1999:73).
Nuclear weapon explosions have also had environmental consequences, and affected the
achievement of global goals of combating climate change through reducing pollution, and
preserving biodiversity (Borie, 2014). Recent studies indicate that nuclear conflicts affect
the climate, food security and lead to mass migration (ILPI and UNIDIR, 2016). A theme that
has emerged on the effects of nuclear weapons has further shown that nuclear weapons
mostly affect the social, economic and cultural rights of women. A feminist perspective is
further important to understand the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons though
ignored in most nuclear discourses.
1.7 Conclusion
This paper used a feminist approach to understand the gendered nature of nuclear discourses.
The paper unpacked the way gendered nuclear discourses operate by focusing on masculine-
codes of language that devalue feminists perspectives on the humanitarian impact of nuclear
weapons. It also highlighted how the masculinised language of nuclear weapons is based on
claims of leadership. Masculine discourses of nuclear weapons represent states that have
masculinised colonial power over other states.
The gendered language that is maintained within the nuclear discourse is further regarded as a
natural aspect of the world order. Civil society organisations have further raised concerns
about the gendered impacts of nuclear weapons. However, there has been little minimal
attention given to the gendered impacts of nuclear weapons by states. The NPT structure and
the language used in the NPT discourse has to change to achieve the sustainable development
goals of gender equality and peace within societies. This can be done by including women as
well as men from diverse backgrounds to be equally represented in the disarmament
discussions so as to have a diverse set of perspectives. Women comprise almost 50 per cent
of the world‟s population, but their contribution to disarmament discussions continues to be
limited. This is despite the fact that women are more vulnerable to biological, psychological
and environmental impacts of ionizing radiation than men. Diverse perspectives on the
nuclear weapon discourse challenges the pattern of power relations, and creates an inclusive
nuclear discourse that is important for making sure the disarmament agenda achieves its
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Since the end of the Cold War, globalization has brought new actors to the political arena - one of those actors being civil society or NGOs. Claudia Kissling addresses the topic of civil society participation in the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
"In this collection of lively essays, Cynthia Enloe makes better sense of globalization and international politics by taking a deep and personal look into the daily realities in a range of women's lives. She proposes a distinctively feminist curiosity that begins with taking women seriously, especially during this era of unprecedented American influence. This means listening carefully, digging deep, challenging assumptions, and welcoming surprises. Listening to women in Asian sneaker factories, Enloe reveals, enables us to bring down to earth the often abstract discussions of the global economy. Paying close attention to Iraqi women's organizing efforts under military occupation exposes the false global promises made by officials. Enloe also turns the beam of her inquiry inward. In a series of four candid interviews and a new set of autobiographical pieces, she reflects on the gradual development of her own feminist curiosity. Describing her wartime suburban girlhood and her years at Berkeley, she maps the everyday obstacles placed on the path to feminist consciousness-and suggests how those obstacles can be identified and overcome. The Curious Feminist shows how taking women seriously also challenges the common assumption that masculinities are trivial factors in today's international affairs. Enloe explores the workings of masculinity inside organizations as diverse as the American military, a Serbian militia, the UN, and Oxfam. A feminist curiosity finds all women worth thinking about, Enloe claims. She suggests that we pay thoughtful attention to women who appear complicit in violence or in the oppression of others, or too cozily wrapped up in their relative privilege to inspire praise or compassion. Enloe's vitality, passion, and incisive wit illuminate each essay. The Curious Feminist is an original and timely invitation to look at global politics in an entirely different way.".
This book examines the relationship between women, gender and the international security agenda, exploring the meaning of security in terms of discourse and practice, as well as the larger goals and strategies of the global women's movement. Today, many complex global problems are being located within the security logic. From the environment to HIV/AIDS, state and non-state actors have made a practice out of securitizing issues that are not conventionally seen as such. As most prominently demonstrated by the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2001), activists for women's rights have increasingly framed women's rights and gender inequality as security issues in an attempt to gain access to the international security agenda, particularly in the context of the United Nations. This book explores the nature and implications of the use of security language as a political framework for women, tracing and analyzing the organizational dynamics of women's activism in the United Nations system and how women have come to embrace and been impacted by the security framework, globally and locally. The book argues that, from a feminist and human security perspective, efforts to engender the security discourse have had both a broadening and limiting effect, highlighting reasons to be sceptical of securitization as an inherently beneficial strategy. Four cases studies are used to develop the core themes: (1) the campaign to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325; (2) the strategies utilized by those advocating women's issues in the security arena compared to those advocating for children; (3) the organizational development of the UN Development Fund for Women and how it has come to securitize women; and (4) the activity of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and its challenges in gendering its security approach. The work will be of interest to students of critical security, gender studies, international organizations and international relations in general.
Young's essay draws attention to practices of citizenship that can arise under a government at war and explores the logic of the masculine role of protector. A government at war, which Young calls a "security regime," protects its members in an overly aggressive fashion from external dangers as well as from internal dissension. A state acting as a security regime, however, threatens to undermine democratic practice by expecting uncritical obedience and submissiveness from its population. This role toward its citizens is analogous to the role a protective family patriarch plays toward the women and children of his family. Young argues that, even from a protective government, what adult citizens want instead are relationships that respect their autonomy and equality.
1. Gendering World Politics2. Troubled Encounters: Feminism Meets IR3. War, Peace, and Security4. Gendering the Global Economy5. Democratization, the State and the Global Order: Gendered Perspectives6. Conclusions and Beginnings: Some Pathways for IR Feminist FuturesBibliography
* List of Tables and Illustrations * Acknowledgments to the Second Edition * Acknowledgments to the First Edition * List of Acronyms * 1. Introduction: The Gender of World Politics * How Lenses Work * Why Global? * Why Gender? * Why Issues? * The Immediacy and Import of Global Gender Issues * Notes About This Text * Mapping the Book * 2. Gender as a Lens on World Politics * Denaturalizing Gender * The Social Construction of Gender and Gender Hierarchy * The Gendered Who, What, and How of World Politics * Gendered Divisions of World Politics * Conclusion * 3. Gendered Divisions of Power * Women as State Actors * How and Why Are These Women Rendered Invisible? * Why So Few? * How Do Women Get to the Top? * What Are the Gender Consequences of Women in Power? * What Makes Actors/Agents Powerful? Who Gets Attention? For What? * Locating Power: Nationally and Internationally * Conclusion * 4. Gendered Divisions of Violence, Labor, and Resources * Violence: War and Security Issues * Labor: Economic Issues * Resources: Equity and Ecology Issues * Conclusion * 5. The Politics of Resistance: Women as Nonstate, Antistate, and Transstate Actors * Women's Movements * Practical and Strategic Gender Interests * Antiwar and Peace Movements * Nationalist and Antinationalist Movements * Economic Movements * Ecology Movements * Conclusion * 6. Ungendering World Politics * Ungendering Power and Politics * Ungendering Violence * Ungendering Labor * Ungendering Resources * Conclusion * Discussion Questions * Notes * Suggested Readings * Websites * Glossary * Index