It is undisputed that the current international political system is largely patriarchal and far from gynenocracy. Even the products of political processes, such as the Law, inherits the composition of its institutional parent. For instance, the law criminalising rape is drafted, in
In an increasingly interdependent world, the understanding of conflict is not only a core function of IR scholarship but also a fundamental necessity for the prosperity of humankind. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the patriarchal - international - system has been heavily criticised by feminists. Furthermore, until relatively recently, the field of International Relations studied the causes of war and conflict with no particular reference to people (Burchill et al, 2001). However, gender analysis can reveal many answers to IR questions. For instance, gender analysis reveals that men and states, domestic and international violence, to be inextricably related (Burchill et al, 2001). In the same vein,
The study of international relations focuses principally on how states – not people - interact. However, states are constituted by people and it is only logical to analyse the world today in terms of the individuals that constitute it. Gender analysis can therefore shed light in the shadows of understanding the origin of conflict in our civilisation. Thus, ‘feminism is the research posture of many locations, illuminating important relations and practices darkened by the long shadows of official IR (Sylvester, 2002, at p.269).
However, he continues, ‘the problem with the feminist view is that it sees these attitudes toward violence, power, and status as wholly the products of a patriarchal culture, whereas in fact it appears they are rooted in biology.’ By comparing the human race to Chimpanzees,
The argument then takes a prospective look and considers whether a truly matriarchal world could ever exist and whether it could in effect doctor the conflict propensity in the world. ‘Despite the rise of women, men will continue to play a major, if not dominant part in the governance of postindustrial countries, not to mention less-developed ones (Fukuyama, 1998). Feminists, however, argue that more women need to be brought into the domain of international politics as leaders, officials, soldiers and voters. Indeed, only by participating fully in global politics can women both defend their own interests and shift the underlying male agenda. Furthermore,
In the past 15 years, the
Third, and more relevant to the issue at hand, it should not be assumed that the male monopoly on warfare has been as eternal and universal as
However, it could be argued that even if women are innately less violent, they are plenty violent enough to call into question
When speaking of gender one is also speaking of biology. Thus the claim that a truly matriarchal world would be less prone to conflict calls for a biological contradistinction. However, as Kroeber (1999) argues, it is a large step from what may be biologically innate leanings toward individual aggression to ritualized, socially sanctioned, institutionalized group warfare. Arguably, wars start not in biology (instinctual male aggression), as Jacquette (1999) argues, but in realpolitik i.e. a state’s need to defend itself from outside threat (or to further their interests in foreign land). The argument therefore follows that women’s pacifism is relatively a modern phenomenon and cannot thus be biological, or genetic (Pollitt, 1999).
Wars are manufactured at the political level, and thus control of political power naturally monopolises control of warfare. In a democracy, political power should ideally lie in the hands of the electorate. Thus,
A possible fatal blow to
Women are already, however, involved in cooperative mechanisms in the resolution of conflict or promotion of peace. For instance in the Phillipines women initiated peace zones to protect their children from recruitment by the militias and the army. Thus, the involvement of women in peace negotiations leads to ensuring a peace agreement that builds lasting peace at all levels (United Nations Development Fund for Women, “Women At The Peace Table, 2000).
Gender analysis provides a novel platform to understand international relations. It may be the case that women are less prone to violence because society has, over time, conditioned them to be so. A totally polarised dispersion of power in the world, such as truly patriarchal or truly matriarchal, is more likely, if anything, to generate more conflict as the struggle for power would be exacerbated. It is therefore safe to conclude that it is necessary to promote women to higher political, economic and military positions so as to provide a balance in the execution of international policies that will, eventually, affect international relations, and, hopefully, the prevention of conflict and promotion of interstate cooperation.