News from the Bush School

Women Key To World Peace, Says Texas A&M Prof

May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012

Women — more specifically the treatment of women — are key to world peace, contends a Texas A&M University professor who has studied and written extensively about the subject, most recently co-authoring a scholarly but tantalizing titled book: Sex and 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.”

Prof. Valerie M. Hudson, a political scientist who holds the prestigious George H. W. Bush Chair at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service, wrote Sex and World Peace in collaboration with three other professors whose fields of expertise range from psychology to geography, political science and international studies.

Her co-authors are Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, professor emeritus of psychology, and Chad E. Emmett, associate professor of geography, both of Brigham Young University, and Mary Caprioli, associate professor and head of the Department of Political Science and director of international studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The 289-page book was published by the Columbia University Press.

Sex and World Peace is far from Hudson’s first venture into writing about the sexes in national and international contexts. Earlier in her scholarly career, she developed nation-by-nation data 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.”  The highly regarded Washington-based publication recently published two articles written by Hudson that relate to the central topic of Sex and World Peace.

In the concluding “Taking Wings” chapter of Sex and World Peace, Hudson and her co-authors use a Bahá’ í 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 and her colleagues build on the bird analogy, noting that when a bird’s wing has been injured or broken through violence, the bird will not be able to fly.

“If the women have never had the opportunity to experience a true ‘peacetime’ in their lives, the lives of not only women but also men and children will be crippled and unable to reach their full potential,” they point out.

“Our research confirms the assertion of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that ‘the subjugation of women is a direct threat to the security of the United States,” the authors add.

They contend this is “not a zero-sum game” being played between men and women in which if women are elevated, then men are debased.

“We were meant to win together,” they emphasize.