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"The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States"

Women supporters of a Pakistani Islamic alliance leave after a protest rally in front of Parliament House against the Women's Protection Bill presented by government in the National Assembly, Sept. 11, 2006 in Islamabad, Pakistan.
AP Photo

"The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States"

Journal Article, International Security, volume 33, issue 3, pages 7-45

Winter 2008/09

Authors: Valerie M. Hudson, Mary Caprioli, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Rose McDermott, Chad F. Emmett

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Quarterly Journal: International Security

 

SUMMARY

Does the security of women influence the security and behavior of states? Existing evidence linking the situation of women to state-level variables such as economic prosperity and growth, health, and corruption is fairly conclusive. Questions remain, however, concerning the degree to which state security and state security-related behavior is linked to the security of women. The "women and peace" thesis draws upon evolutionary biology/psychology for ultimate causes of this linkage, and sociological theories of social diffusion and psychological theories of social learning for more proximate causal mechanisms. Together, a new data resource -- the WomanStats Database -- and conventional methodology find a robust, positive relationship between the physical security of women and three measures of state security and peacefulness. In addition, a comparison of this proposition to alternative explanations involving level of democracy, level of economic development, and civilizational identity shows that the physical security of women is a better predictor of state security and peacefulness. Although these results are preliminary, it is still possible to conclude that the security of women must not be overlooked in the study of state security, especially given that the research questions to be raised and the policy initiatives to be considered in the promotion of security will differ markedly if the security of women is seriously considered as a significant influence on state security.

 

For more information about this publication please contact the IS Editorial Assistant at 617-495-1914.

For Academic Citation:

Hudson, Valerie M., Mary Caprioli, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Rose McDermott, and Chad F. Emmett. "The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States." International Security 33, no. 3 (Winter 2008/09): 7-45.

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