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International Relations - feminist movement - Essay Example

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International Relations - feminist movement

Feminism and their movement for equal treatment and gender equality, in some ways, succeeded in their various objectives most especially in making their struggles known. In the past few decades, debates on the link between feminism and international relations have ensued as the feminists contend that international relations has failed to embrace gender neutrality in both its orthodox and mainstream theories. Thus, the last couple of decades were said to be the start of invasion of feminism on the core of international relations. Ann Tickner, one of the leading advocates of the feminist critique in international relations asserts that international politics is purely man's domain.1 She states that only men are given the privilege to get involved in warfare and adds that the masculine dominion not only encompasses international politics but also includes diplomacy and military service.2 In contrast, women had always been, according to Tickner, refused to be embraced in diplomacy or the military as she further observes that women in international politics are restricted to areas such as international political economy, North-South issues and distributive justice related issues. The study of gender neutrality under this field is significant as Sarah Brown suggests that the study of international relations involves the 'identification of and explanation of social stratification and of inequality' as configured in the global relations level.3 In the light of this controversy, this paper will attempt to answer the gravity of feminist assertions or if gender-neutral theories exist in the area of international relations and why the answer to this is significant to the discipline as a whole.
One of the major feminist critiques of international relations (IR) claims that most of the theories put forward by IR do not support reality and has always been a dominion of the males. Sarah Brown observes that the assumption that women need to be included or considered in the disciplines - a liberal-feminist concern, only implies that women were not really there in the first place.4 International relations is mum about women. This only means that subject matter would not exclude women in the field if it were gender neutral. The absence of women in the theories of the discipline is said to be 'hegemonic'5 as international relations failed to put forth gender related theories in which women are 'brought into the discipline'.6 Hence, advocates of this view, proposed to embrace women in the discipline.7
In order to understand what these critiques put forward, it is also significant to comprehend the arguments that feminism in the field of IR is putting forth. It is said that the most prevailing assumption we can glean about the world of politics and international relations is that it is natural and neutral. This assertion refers to the roles of males and females with regards their gender. However, the notion of gender, its universal definition and implications must first be understood.
Gender mainly refers to the identity of females and males as they are conceived in certain cultures. These identities imply socio-cultural traits assigned to women and men instead of the biologically defined distinction between the sexes. Sandra Whitworth states that gender does not imply the sex of either women or men but to the notion bestowed on their differences. Thus gender is a 'socially constructed'8 definition of the distinction ...Show more

Summary

The rise of the feminist movement in the last half of the century brought about transformations and challenges on our concepts of the role of women in every aspect of our social, cultural and political lives. Terms such as gender equality and gender neutrality started to become household expressions…
Author : ashton52
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