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Texas A&M Bush School Professor’s Book Called A “Must Read” By Gloria Steinem

October 17, 2014

Sex and World Peace Book Cover

Texas A&M University Professor Valerie M. Hudson’s book Sex and World Peace has been cited by Gloria Steinem as “must read,” one of the top three books on her reading list with the power to change lives. Steinem says Hudson’s book, published two years ago and under-read in her estimation, “…is a book that could and should transform everything from our families to our foreign policy.”

In her blog on openroadmedia.com, Steinem recommends books she finds “life-giving,” as well as those she says never had the readership they deserve, or have been lost in the clamor of new media.  She says her goal, and that of Open Media, is to make people aware of what she calls “lost” books. 

Hudson is a political scientist who holds the George H. W. Bush Chair at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service.  She wrote Sex and World Peace in collaboration with Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli and Chad Emmett, whose fields of expertise range from psychology to geography to international relations.  The book was published by Columbia University Press in 2012.

The authors believe that women — more specifically the treatment of women — are key to world peace.  The book’s underlying thesis is that if the systematic insecurity of half the world’s population were to be reduced, the insecurity of the nations of the world would be significantly diminished.  To quote the authors:  “The security of women would in time reduce conflict in the international system and literally become the basis of greater security for the nations of the world.”

This book is far from Hudson’s first venture into writing about the sexes in national and international contexts.  Earlier in her scholarly career, she developed a nation-by-nation database on women and children around the world that triggered both academic and public policy interest. She also co-authored a book titled Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population, which received major media attention and won two national book awards.  Those and other studies and writings prompted Foreign Policy to name her one of the “Top 100 Thinkers of 2009.” 

In the concluding “Taking Wings” chapter of Sex and World Peace, Hudson and her co-authors use a Bahá’i Faith quotation to underscore their man-woman equality thesis: “The world of humanity is possessed of two wings; the male and the female. So long as those two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly.  Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment of humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment.  When the two wings . . .  become equivalent in strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary.”

Hudson says she is flattered by Steinem’s recommendation and support for her book. “Gloria Steinem is an icon for many people, not only as a feminist, but also for her work as a journalist and political activist, Hudson notes.  “My co-authors and I are delighted to know that our book, and its important message about women’s status, will now reach a wider audience.”

 

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