Women in International Relationsp

Global Feminist Revolution. Women’s Emancipation Movement. Feminism in International Relations and Discrimination. Gender discrimination. Women in the History of International Relations. Women Officials in the contemporary International Relations.

Рубрика Социология и обществознание
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Язык английский
Дата добавления 21.11.2012
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Women in International Relations

On the threshold of a global feminist revolution, the Canadian activist Nellie McClung said “Never underestimate the power of the women”. Today, a century later, we are witnessing a radical change regarding women's position in society. Equality in rights of women and men became a natural law, not only stipulated in the constitutions and the UN Charter, but the one that also had managed to take root in the contemporary individual's consciousness.

Woman, as a political figure is not an exception to the rule any more, but rather an innovation that tends to be accepted and set out as a rule. Once, women have entered the area where men have eagerly maintaining the monopoly - Politics, they have been able, due their capabilities contested for so much time, to occupy important positions in field of International Relations and to influence positively the establishment of favorable reports between countries around the world.

Feminism and Women's Emancipation Movement

In a simple definition, feminism means the study of and the movement for women, not as objects, but as subjects of knowledge Martin Griffiths,Terry O'Callaghan,Steven C. Roach, International Relations.The key concepts, Routledge, New York, 2008, p 110. The concept of “feminism” refers to a theoretical doctrine claiming equal treatment before the norms, institutions and public and private practices, regardless of gender, equal opportunities to exercise autonomy and self - affirmations of the person Mihaela Moroiu, Gender studies, Polirom, Iasi, 2004, p 28.

As a conceptual category that defines the defense of the women's dignity and the understanding of their rights, feminism appears in the Renaissance era press Sarah Gwyneth Ross, Woman as Intellect in Renaissance Italy and England, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2009, pp 12-13. A new image of "Western woman" appears: the culturally normal learned woman who was not a queen, not a nun, and most certainly not a courtesan Eadem, p 15.

The term "feminist" appears in the connotation which we use today in the late nineteenth century in Great Britain, but as an attitude and an approach it has preceded the canonical use of term. The period following the French Revolution is considered the starting point of the movement for women's emancipation based on texts of such revolutionary writer as Olympe de Gouges and Mary Wollstonecraft.

On the verge of World War I appears a movement called the "Suffragettes", which after the first world conflagration have obtained for women the right to vote, stated in 1918 in Great Britain and in 1920 the U.S.. Joshua S. Goldstein, Jon C. Pevehouse, International Relaations, Polirom, Iasi, 2008, p 166

The end of the World War II marked the rise of emancipation movements. Since 1967, the U.S. government launched the programs "Affirmative action" (positive discrimination) for women.

In recent decades took shape a radical postmodernist feminism, called also "anarchic-feminism", the postmodernist feminism has developed a number of demands regarding the language so that it properly reflects participation and possibilities for participation of women in public life and gender differences become more flexible. Joshua S. Goldstein, Jon C. Pevehouse, International Relaations, Polirom, Iasi, 2008, p 162

Today feminism is no longer a prominent direction, but many of its objectives maintained their actuality and are widely shared by the public. Since the assertion of the women's right to freedom, the feminist movement has come a long and complex evolution, under the sign of progress at the doctrinal and organizational level.

Feminism in International Relations and Discrimination

Feminist International Relations is a term used to define the research on women's position in IR, being introduced in the late '80s. After the end of the Cold War the traditional view of IR was reevaluated and for the first time the gender problem was called into discussion.

A work that reflects in the best way gender concerns in the field, is "Bananas, Beaches and Bases" (1990) by Cynthia Enloe.

Liberal feminists believe that when women are allowed to participate in IR they behave like men and have similar results. The refusal to accept and the denial would lead to a waste of specialists, since the capacities of women are not inferior to those of men Joshua S. Goldstein, Jon C. Pevehouse, International Relaations, Polirom, Iasi, 2008, p 167

11 Gillian Youngst, A feminist International Relations: a contradiction in terms?, International Journal of Politics and International Afairs, 2004, p 76

The feminist IR conception involves analyzing how men and women affect and are affected by international politics and the connection between the essential concepts of IR (war, security, etc..) and gender preferences. The study involves not only themes like the states, diplomacy, security, but also the way each gender is involved in the global political economy.

Gender discrimination or sexism is a form of discrimination or devaluation based on a person's sex, this attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes.

At the moment women don't suffer from open discrimination formalized in legislation, yet there are subtle methods of discrimination which reduces the chances of women to achieve in areas monopolized by men, including IR. One of these methods is language discrimination; most professions in the IR are masculine gender words which, at psychological level, state that only men can practice this professions. There is no feminine gender of words such as "president", "minister", "diplomat", etc.

According to the report Teaching, Research, and International Politics (TRIP) Survey, the percentage of women studying at the Faculties of IR is of 23, while the percentage of the teachers in the field is 14%. Daniel Maliniak, Amy Oakes, Susan Peterson, Michael J. Tierney, Women in IR, Politics and Gender, 2007, p 122

Generally speaking, IR area is associated with the political sphere, because the IR officials working in the Intergovernmental organizations or diplomatic missions are political personalities.

Although, theoretically, we should enjoy a high quality democracy, the experience of discrimination stop women from choosing or acheiving success in getting a job in the political field. In 2010 only 18.8% of parliamentarians in most countries of the world were women Periodic publication Inter-Parliamentary Union, Geneva, Elvetia, 2011. For the European Union we have other data, thus in the European Parliament 31% of MPs are women. From 1979 until now, only two women, Simone Veil (1979-1982) and Nicole Fontaine (1999-2002) were chairmen of European Parliament. http://www.europarl.europa.eu 12.04.2012

Women in the History of International Relations

Even until the success achieved by the Emancipation movement, women have occupied high political positions and played a decisive role for the evolution of interstate relations. The leaders - women of tribes in Paleolithic and Neolithic ages are examples, that might be a little lacking of eloquence, but they are the ones that certify the practice of matriarch. The long period during which this political system worked successfully, makes us wonder why during the evolution of civilization, the preference was given to male leaders and officials. However, images of women pharaohs, warriors, empresses, activists and presidents remained famous in the history of mankind.

Cleopatra (69-30 BC) - the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt,” a rare example of a ruling queen who raised armies and conducted wars” Bernard A. Cook, Women and War, ABC-Clio, Santa-Barbara, California, 2006, p 123.

Cleopatra was 17 or 18 years old when she became the queen of Egypt, but proved to be a shrewd politician. She was able to regain the throne from her brother Ptolemy XIII and become in 47 BC the only ruler of Egypt. Due to her liaisons with Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony, Cleopatra saved her country from being rapt by the Roman Empire.

Joan of Arc (1412-1431) - a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic Saint.

Named also, The Maid of Orleans,his French young woman is famous for being capable of leading an army during the last part of the Hundred Year's War. Her swift victories in Orleans settled the disputed succession to the throne, but soon after the Charles VII's coronation she was captured and sold to the English King Henry VI.“She marked the history by being a military leader, a breaker of medieval gender roles, a peasant revolutionary, and a religious fanatic”. Bernard A. Cook, Women and War, ABC-Clio, Santa-Barbara, California, 2006, p 332

Anne Boleyn (1507 - 1536) - Queen of England, the initiator of Anglican Church reform.

She was crowned Queen of England on June 1, 1533 in a pageant ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

Anne Boleyn granted petitions, received diplomats, presided at meetings. She played an important role in England's international position by solidifying an alliance with France, establishing a good relationship with the French Ambassador Gilles Pommeraie. David Loades, The Tudor Queens of England, Continuum UK, London, pp 113- 118

On May 2, 1536 Anne was accused of high treason by her husband Henry VIII and executed on May 19.

Catherine II (1729 - 1796) - Empress of Russia

Catherine II (the Great) exemplifies the enlightened despot of her time. Her reign was considered the Golden Age of the Russian Empire, which extended the borders and included New Russia, Crimea, Right-Bank Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Courland at the disadvantage of two powers - the Ottoman the South-Eastern Europe after the first Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774).

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 - 1928) - British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement.

In 1889 Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women's Franchise League, which advocated suffrage for women, followed by the Women's Social and Political Union in 1905. Her efforts came to fruition in March 1918, when women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote. In 1928 women were finally given the same voting rights as men in the United Kingdom. Bernard A. Cook, Women and War, ABC-Clio, Santa-Barbara, California, 2006, pp 455-456

Thanks to her and other loyal activists work, today women all over the world have equal rights with men and can occupy senior positions, proving that they can be even better specialists than men.

Mother Theresa (1910 - 1997) - a Roman Catholic nun, Noble Prize for Peace laureate.

Mother Teresa is a personality known worldwide for her charity work, the virtuous life that she had, entirely devoted to the oppressed, the poor and the sick. In 10 years after her death in 2007, the Vatican has begun procedures for canonization, giving her the title "Blessed Teresa of Calcutta".

Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity had 610 Missions in 123 countries including hospices and homes for people with HIV / AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children's and family counseling Programmes, orphanages and schools. Leona Salazar, Lights Out for Mother Teresa, Bernardgoldberg.com. 20.04.2012

Rosa Parks (1913 - 2005) - an African-American civil rights activist

On December 1, 1955, she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a white passenger. During the next 381 days the black people of Montgomery have promoted the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was one of the largest movements against racial segregation. Although blacks have fought for their freedom and equality since they arrived in the United States, Rosa Parks's civil disobedience and arrest changed the focus of the movement, from just relying on the courts to gain equality - to rejecting and protesting their treatment in segregated states. http://www.rosaparks.org/ 20.04.2012

Indira Gandhi (1917 - 1984) - Indian politician and one of the most powerful women in the world during her tenure.

When she came back from Oxford, Indira became a member of the National Congress Party. After India gained independence on August 15, 1947, the politician Indira Gandhi became one of the most important figures in the country. During her tenure, India experienced the highest improvement. In order to assert India on the international arena, she initiated The nuclear program and got involved into the Cold War, in a nine-month battle with Pakistan, being determined to confront Nixon Bernard A. Cook, Women and War, ABC-Clio, Santa-Barbara, California, 2006, pp 218-219. She was murdered on October 31, 1984, by some extremists infiltrated in his entourage.

Women Officials in the contemporary International Relations

The XXI century has become a symbol of modernization in terms of promoting women on diplomatic posts. Since 1946, diplomacy has become an open field for women, and in 1972 the restrictive policies on celibacy for women diplomats was eliminated. According to statistics, only 21.8% of management positions of 260 diplomatic missions are occupied by women http://www.diplomaticourier.com 14.04.2012.

Currently there are 10 countries in the world led by presidents - women, most of them being the first female president of the state. According to the division by the continents we get the following data:

Europe: Tarja Halonen - Finland, Mary McAleese - Ireland, Doris Leuthard - Switzerland and Dalia Grybauskaite - Lithuania.

Asia: Roza Otunbayeva - Kirghizstan and Pratibha Patil - India.

Latin America: Cristina Kirchner - Argentina, Laura Chinchilla - Costa Rica and Dilma Rousseff - Brazil.

Africa: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Liberia.

In countries like USA, Croatia, Madagascar, Pakistan, Colombia, Niger, Denmark, Lithuania, Rwanda, Haiti, Mauritania, San Marino, Bangladesh, Liechtenstein, South Africa etc. , the Minister of Foreign Affairs position is occupied by women (except the U.S., where Hillary Clinton is holding the position of Secretary of State, responsible for foreign affairs also).

The European Union diplomatic corps only has 11 out of 115 current female ambassadors. In 2002, only 11 female ambassadors served their country as the Permanent Representative at the United Nations in New York, with 15 female diplomats posted in Washington. It has been 40 years since women have been permitted to compete for top diplomatic posts, but the FCO is still sending female diplomats to many parts of the world for the first time.

Here are some exceptional women who play an important role in establishing relations between coutries at the moment:

Louise Frechette - The first woman who held the highest position in UN.

In 1970 she committed on Canadian Foreign Service, carrying out diplomatic activities in Athens and Madrid. Since 1985, she becomes Canada's ambassador in Argentina and Uruguay. Frechette played a decisive role in the integration of Canada into the Organization of American States.

Between 1998 and 2006, she holds the position of UN Deputy Secretary-General, where she assisted the Secretary-General in the full range of his responsibilities.

As a member of CIGI, Louise Frechette was distinguished by chairing the Nuclear Energy Futures project since 2006 Centre for International Governance Innovation http://www.cigionline.org.

Simone Veil - The first female president of the European Parliament.

In the 1979 European elections, she was elected as Member of the European Parliament. She held this position until 1982. Not only that Veil was the first president of the elected Parliament, but was also the first female president since the establishment of the of this European legislative body in 1952. Between 1984 and 1989 she was the leader of the Liberal Democrat group.

She holds awards for the contributions made in the IR field and activates as a member of the Academie francaise since 2008.

Zainab Salbi - founder of Women for Women International organisation.

Women for Women International is a humanitarian and development organization helping women survivors of wars rebuild their lives http://www.womenforwomen.org 17.04.2012. She has held the post of CEO of the organization from its founding until 2011.

As an activist promoting women's support, she earned worldwide recognition, becoming an important figure of IR. For her work in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993, Zainab Salbi has been honored by Former President Bill Clinton. Zainab Beads is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and is a member of the UN Secretary General's Civil Society Advisory Group focusing on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

Dilma Rousseff - politician and the current president of Brazil

She was elected in a run-off on 31 October 2010 and Became the first female elected president of Brazil. As president of Brazil, she continues the policy of promoting the country's in the BRICS- the economic organization that brings together emerging countries like Russia, China, India, South Africa and Brazil. On 28 March 2012, she attended the BRICS Summit in Delhi, India. The meeting aimed to set up the closer diplomatic relationship between these countries and proposes BRICS as an alternative to the World Bank BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk 17.04.2012. According to statistics Goldman Sacks, BRICS states are predicted to become five most influent powers in world economics.

As officers of the IR, women have shown that they have the necessary diplomatic skills to perform successful activities both within international organizations as well as in diplomatic missions. Equally with men, women have diplomatic weapon in their arsenal such as the ability to negotiate, rational analysis of facts and mediation in order to maintain the peace. Women as negotiators can achieve better results because they are showing the virtues of patience, cooperation, careful listening, and mutual understanding necessary when decided upon the fate of the world.

In some cases only women, as the officials of IR, have access to parts of the world where gender segregation is prevalent. On the other hand a woman - diplomat can serve as an incentive for all women still suffering of discrimination to escape from the yoke of disregard.

Worldwide, the woman - diplomat is the symbol of the fact that the principles of gender equality are working and therefore we enjoy a better functioning democracy, she is a symbol of a mature society.

The woman is no longer that poor and vulnerable being, dependent on man, isolated from participation in state management and unable to direct her own fate, she became an important pillar of society, an eminent figure in the political and has taken its place at the round table where the fate of the world is decided.

global feminist women international


1. Cook, Bernard A., Women and War, ABC-Clio, Santa-Barbara, California, 2006

2. Joshua S. Goldstein, Jon C. Pevehouse, International Relations, Polirom, Iasi, 2008

3. Daniel Maliniak, Amy Oakes, Susan Peterson, Michael J. Tierney, Women in IR, Politics and Gender, 2007

4. Martin Griffiths,Terry O'Callaghan,Steven C. Roach, International Relations.The key concepts, Routledge, New York, 2008

5. Mihaela Moroiu, Gender studies, Polirom, Iasi, 2004

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