• April 4th, 2016

“Where are the Women?” Gender Mainstreaming in International Relations

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Feminist theory in IR has moved through a number of key phases and we will look at the manifest successes of mainstreaming gender theory in world politics today. The first phase was characterised by posing the simple but explosive question: “where are the women?” Feminism argues that IR was not only professionally a man’s world, but all the theories were deeply masculine, presupposing any number of male attributes to be universally held. Scholars like Enloe looked to show what sorts of roles women played in world politics and how different international relations seemed to them. From the wives of diplomats sacrificing their careers to their husband’s ambitions, to the locating of red light districts (often close to military bases), women held structurally dominated roles in world politics and it became clear that IR scholars had a limited view of power for as long as they ignored gender relations. Feminist theorists have sought to counter the claim that gender doesn’t matter in world politics by showing how gender fundamentally shapes what we think world politics is and how we ought to resolve conflict. The result has been the mainstreaming of gender issues in international organisations.
1. What are the pros and cons of gender mainstreaming in world politics today?

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