The Program on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service has seen a steady increase in student interest since the program was established in 2015, having grown from five students initially to fourteen this year. WPS is administered by the School’s Department of International Affairs and is directed by Dr. Valerie M. Hudson, holder of the George H. W. Bush Chair and an expert on international security and foreign policy analysis as well as gender and security. In 2009, Foreign Policy named Hudson one of the top 100 Most Influential Global Thinkers.
The Program on Women, Peace, and Security has created a locus for gender analysis in international affairs through teaching, research, and outreach. The program’s foundational course, Women and Nations, makes the connection between the security of women and the security of a country. The Compton Foundation provided the program’s inaugural funding, and its research arm, the WomanStats Project, was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense from 2014 to 2018.
WPS students and Dr. Hudson recently held an afternoon tea to introduce the WPS area of study to students interested in joining the program for the coming academic year and explained the benefits, which include receiving a paid membership to Women in International Security (WISE). Dr. Hudson also announced a series of upcoming events sponsored by the WPS program, including films and speakers coming to the Bush School to talk about the intersection of gender and national security. The Women, War, and Peace 2.0 film series will take place in March, and there will be a speaker in April from the Center of Bioethics and Culture International Surrogacy to talk about surrogacy as a transnational human rights issue. The WPS students will have a luncheon with Valerie Plame in April as well.
Each student electing to join the WPS academic concentration may choose to be a part of a WPS-dedicated capstone project focusing on timely issues for the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues ((OGWI). This year’s capstone team will make a presentation to the OGWI, USAID, and USIP about using women’s economic empowerment as a way to stabilize security. The students will also be presenting to the White House as a part of a new National Security Presidential Directive to empower women in national security.
Students choosing the WPS concentration can participate in research linked to relevant issues as well. Emily Jensen, a second-year student, works for the WomanStats program, where she collects data on women’s security issues. Jensen is working on a research paper tracking female migration in the wake of abnormal sex ratios. When cultures select against having girl babies, this affects marriage markets, which in turn affects female migration more than male migration.
Dr. Hudson discussed the program’s academic, research, and event arms to emphasize the work each is doing to empower women for a more secure world. Bush School students can choose the WPS concentration through the MPIA degree program.