Dr. Valerie Hudson | University Distinguished Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair, Professor of International Affairs, Texas A&M University
The first political order in any society is the sexual political order established between males and females. How does the character of that first political order affect the security, stability, and resilience of the nation-state? The US Department of Defense funded a research project to answer that very question . . .
Though the defense ministry has been a bastion of male power, a growing number of states have appointed women to this portfolio. In this talk, we begin by briefly showing that women first access the defense ministry when the portfolio's focus expands beyond traditionally masculine policy arenas (such as war) to emphasize issues like peacekeeping and human rights. We then show that men and women ministers' policy priorities are largely explained by the conditions that bring women into (or keep them out of) office, rather than innate gender differences. Women’s presence is, however, linked to gender-equality policy. Finally, we briefly discuss whether and how the appointment of women ministers affects citizens’ beliefs about the defense ministry.
Dr. Kyle Beardsley | Professor of Political Science, Duke University; co-director, International Crisis Behavior data project; Deputy Director, Triangle Institute of Security Studies (TISS)
This talk will consider the ways in which armed conflict can transform women's empowerment over time. It will highlight findings from recent scholarship which suggest that armed conflict can open up opportunities for women's empowerment and civil liberties in the short run, but that significant challenges often prevent the consolidation of those gains. The talk will finally consider the importance of regime change and gender mainstreaming during peace processes as key vehicles of gender equality.
Peace A. Medie | University Distinguished Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair, Professor of International Affairs, Texas A&M University
The UN has promoted the establishment of specialized criminal justice mechanisms, such as specialized police and gendarmerie units, to respond to post-conflict sexual violence. However, countries have differed in how they have established these units. Drawing on over 300 interviews in Liberia and CÔte d’Ivoire, this talk analyses how factors such as the strength of the women’s movement affects the establishment of these specialized units and the performance of personnel.
How do we root our analysis of violent women in the perspective of the female fighters who demand to be seen as political actors? While much has been rightly made of the surge of women in electoral politics, the female fighterreclaims women’s place in another form of political life: on the battlefield and in the streets. Based on nearly two decades of interviews with women in the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the FARC in Colombia, and elsewhere I argue that the erasure of the female fighter from narratives on gender and power is not only dangerous, but also anti-feminist. Viewing the female fighter in all her complexity reveals the myriad of external forces that threaten the existence of the woman who eventually takes up arms: the violent advances of state soldiers and the policymakers that hold the line; the cultural constraints that hold her captive to trauma; the violence at home and the guns on the streets that she will eventually fight to reclaim. Each encircling her, reinforcing the other -- until she makes the radical choice to break-through.
Orna Sasson-Levy | Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Gender Studies Program, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Establishing mandatory service for women in Israel in 1948 could signify gender equality; however, the military has maintained a rigid hierarchic gender division of labor for several decades. In the mid-1990s’, following Supreme Court rulings, several combat roles (including pilot course) were opened to women; the Women’s Corps was dismantled; and many courses were gender integrated. Sasson-Levy argues that these reforms had a dual effect: they broadened military opportunities for women, but at the same time led to a backlash of resistance that threatens these hard-won achievements and women’s equality in the military – and in society – in general.