Written by Haley Hembree
“Who run the world? Girls!” Well, not quite. The theory that women alone are the saviors and peacemakers who can bring world peace has been discredited (Hudson, Ballif-Spanvill, Caprioli, & Emmett, 2012). This theory has, however, opened a discussion that should be examined. Women alone may not prevent World War III, but evidence shows that feminism and equality in gender roles might (Hudson, Ballif-Spanvill, Caprioli, & Emmett, 2012).
Does gender equality reduce war?
Hudson and colleagues (2012) emphasize that a higher degree of equality in gender roles in democratic states is responsible. Breuning (2013) found that “necessary (but not sufficient) preconditions for the emergence of democracy were monogamy and later marriage, as these reduced the inequality of women and men within the household.” Therefore, the reduced inclination for a nation to go war boils down to “smallest unit of human society: the family” (Breuning, 2013).
Perpetrators of Gender Inequality
Breuning (2013) demonstrates that the physical security of women correlates with different measures of peacefulness. This preliminary analysis can help to open a dialogue about the role of gender quality, particularly regarding the status of women, in global stability (Breuning, 2013).
Fahs (2013) evaluated how Sex and World Peace accomplished its claim: “[The authors] take on a range of perpetrators—academics who perpetuate the absence of women in international relations courses and scholarship; policymakers who ignore convincing data about the role of women in producing healthy and successful societies; public health ‘experts’ who forget about the ‘microaggressions’ women face (lack of bodily security, lack of equity in family law, lack of parity in decision-making and government); and the US media, who all-too-willingly ignore women (particularly outside of the US) and the different challenges they face.” These perpetrators all add to lowering the status of women and, thus, possibly making the road to world peace that much more difficult (Fahs, 2013).
What Can Be Done to Promote Gender Equality?
It is important to enforce national policies that support the equal status of women, but it is just as important for women to look out for one another and men to look out for women on a personal level. Gender equality begins in the home. Creating an environment of equality at home can lead to widespread effects. Children in such an environment will learn to expect equal opportunities in education and physical security. Romantic partners will learn to expect equal divisions of labor and respect. Peers will learn to expect equal participation in the work force and politics. By using everyday relationships as a model to inspire equality, each person could, in turn, encourage a society of justice that is one step closer to global stability.
Breuning, M. (2013). Why world peace depends on gender equality in the family. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 19(3), 311-312.
Hudson, V. M., Ballif-Spanvill, B., Caprioli, M., & Emmett, C. F. (2012). Sex and World Peace. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Fahs, B. (2013). Review of Sex and World Peace. Feminism & Psychology, 24(3), 408-409.
Dr. H. Colleen Sinclair
Social Psychologist, Relationships Researcher,
Ms. Chelsea Ellithorpe
Lab Manager of the Social Relations Collaborative and Blog Editor