Women and National Security

My brother recently tweeted a link to an article on Foreign Policy titled, “What Sex Means For World Peace,” written by Valerie M. Hudson.

A little background on Hudson: As a former Brigham Young University and current Texas A&M professor she has established herself as one of the top world political analysis thinkers. I was lucky enough to listen to her lecture at BYU, and my sister took a couple classes from Hudson, the ideas and topics from which my sister and I would dice, examine and discuss. I personally know people who do not like Valerie Hudson’s ideas, but I find her work fascinating and critically important to my personal education and the global view. Read more about her here.

This article analyzes global statistics about the female citizen’s role in society (how they are viewed and treated politically, culturally and educationally) as compared to that country’s global standing. Each country was then rated according to the amount of freedom and safety the individual woman enjoys, and that data was then compared to national safety and security. Their findings in Hudson’s words are:

Our findings, detailed in our new book out this month, Sex and World Peace, echo those of other scholars, who have found that the larger the gender gap between the treatment of men and women in a society, the more likely a country is to be involved in intra- and interstate conflict, to be the first to resort to force in such conflicts, and to resort to higher levels of violence.

She continues on to give examples and theories which are eye-opening and fascinating and yet somehow innately resonated as accurate.

For me, the real power of reading this synopsis of her findings came in evaluating myself as, not only a woman, but a woman in a situation with the power to bring about real change in the world. So often I rationalize immobility because of my seeming insignificance in and ignorance about the “big picture.” But if not me, and if not now, then who and when?

Another point to which I constantly return is my belief, and one supported by Hudson, is that women are not “better” than men. I believe deeply in the importance of men and women working independently and interdependently. I do not necessarily believe in the stagnation of traditional gender roles, but I do believe men and women possess individualized strengths that must be tapped in a way that enhances the talents of both sexes while negating each sex’s weaknesses. Men and women are inherently different. We shouldn’t spend time trying to pick a winner, or trying to make men and women the same, we just need to learn to use both together.

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