Female Safety and its Relationship to the Security of State
Summary of Article
In the article The heart of the matter: The security of women and the security of states by Hudson, Caprioli, Ballif-Spanvill, McDermott, & Emmet (2009), a succinct evidence is provided on why security of women affects the behavior and security of states. The authors’ thesis focuses on psychology, evolutionary biology, and the sociological theories of diffusion to establish this linkage. A thorough comparison of this thesis to various explanations which involve a level of economic democracy, development, and civilization identity, indicates that state security is mainly determined by the security of women. Therefore, as concluded by Hudson et al. (2009), the security of women can never be ignored in the analysis of state security. This factor should not be neglected because the initiative policy put into consideration in the promotion of security may vary notably when the security of women is comprehensively considered a notable influence on the state security.
The authors provide adequate evidence to support the fact that women do not only serve as consumers of security but are also important providers of it. They also state that if we consider a gender lens on the subject of building security in a population that has experienced a war, or a community that is trying to rebuild after a conflict, then women ought to be put into consideration as one of the most valuable factors in ensuring future security (Hudson et al., 2009).
The single best indicator of a state echelon of peacefulness is not democracy, wealth, or identity, but the way of the treatment women in the country. The authors use the case of Guatemala and Bolivia to show that democracies that fail to recognize the important role that women play in the security of the state are likely to achieve no meaningful progress in the future. Moreover, they are weak and very unstable (Hudson et al., 2009). It is evident that in these two countries cases of femicide and violence against women are rampant; hence it is not a wonder that the state security is very volatile. The inference made by the authors is that in circumstances where democracy and rule of law give room for impunity against women, and the general public has high tolerance for violence against women, a country will perpetually remain in a state of instability (Hudson et al., 2009).
Hudson et al. (2009) are prompted by the sound evidence they derive from their research that progress for women can only be achieved when there is equal access to the right to political participation. Furthermore, there must be equal opportunities for members of both genders. The authors also mention that the right to healthcare and employment opportunities is equally important in this process. Based on their presupposition, a society must embrace citizens of both genders in the developing policies relating to state security and should never consider only one-half of the population.
Moreover, Hudson et al. (2014) establish that there is a direct connection between the security of women and the general security of the state, its penchant for conflict and war. The authors use one of the largest available databases on the status of women in the contemporary world to establish the empirical correlation between the security of women and the issues of state and national health, corruption, economic growth and development, and social welfare. In addition, the authors indicate that the best predictor of a state’s peacefulness is not the level of democratization that it has attained in its institutional framework, or level of wealth and ethnic and religious identity. On the contrary, the most important factor is how the society treats women (Hudson et al., 2009).
The conclusion that Hudson et al. (2009) derive from their research is not only compelling, but also provides an excellent illustration of why security of women is a vital cog in the machinery of a state’s security. The authors establish that democracies that have witnessed elevated levels of violence against one gender, in this case women, depict ubiquitous signs and level of security threat just like unstable democracies. The above-mentioned forms of violence include but are not limited to inequalities in education opportunities, participation in government activities, physical security, trafficking of women, and maternal mortality.
The authors employ a scale that ranges from zero to four and use the woman statistics database to weigh these categories of women security. Zero represents the best case scenario while four depicts the worst. Evaluating the physical security of women around the globe using the categories stated above against the scale, no state received a zero. The average score for the entire globe was estimated to be about 3.04. Therefore, it can be concluded that violence perpetrated against women in the world takes place even among the most developed nations and mature democracies. The United States, for example, scores two on this scale due to the rampant domestic violence and prevalence of rape.
It is evident that violence towards women is an inherent phenomenon in most cultures. Hudson et al. (2009) show that gender preference takes place even before the birth of a person. Their study indicates that a global preference for male children over female ones stands at 2.41, which results in security risks for female children and young women.
The score for family law inequality based on their scale is 2.06 showing that in many countries the legal framework is biased towards women. This discrimination is highlighted as the main factor that will hinder the rise of China as a global power. It is estimated that the imbalance in China will result in a deficit of more than 50 million women by the end of the 21st century.
It is understandable and visible how discrimination, inequality, and violence can be perpetuated by cultural norms and beliefs. These aspects immensely affect the security of women that influences the security of the state. Nevertheless, it is not clear how maternal mortality may be related to security. It is clear that it is difficult to establish whether it is caused by poor general access to medicine or a state’s perceived value of the female life. Representation of women in government and their inclusion in the decision-making process stand at 2.74 that depicts that the global representation of women in state affairs is appalling. For instance, in the United States, which is considered a developed nation with mature democracy, only 17 percent of females are members of Congress.
Strengths and Weaknesses
It is evident that Hudson et al. (2009) exemplify the relation between the security of women and the security of a state. The evidence the authors provide to support their thesis is compelling and convincing. In addition, the statistical data used are not only accurate, but also a near true depiction of the state of affairs in many nations. Even though it is possible for the reader to establish a link between the dependent and independent variable, no information is provided relating to the safety of men and how it correlates with the safety of women to ensure a state security. The authors dwell too much on the aspect of one gender to the extent that they forget that a state security is influenced by a range of factors shaped by the relationship between women and men. One is compelled to think that here is a correlation between the security of any gender and the security of a state. Security is affected by a multivariate of factors and gender roles provide only a single facet of the complex equation. Therefore, the study is gynocentric, and men are not considered.
A number of historical cases support the authors’ thesis that the security of women is an important element of the security of a state. For example, in a Third World country such as Honduras, that has the highest murder rate, women have worked relentlessly with the local police and elected leaders to promote an alternative livelihood for their children (Forman & Kruvant, 2014). It has played a huge role in preventing young men from joining drug gangs. In this light, the women in Honduras are determining whether their community and country will be safe. Greater stability on the streets of San Pedro Sula has been attained through the collaboration of local police, leaders, and women (Forman & Kruvant, 2014).
Some historical events also show that women can prevent conflict and violence in the community. For example, in Jordan, young women have participated in pre-school education schemes, where they received training on how to prepare their children for school (Forman & Kruvant, 2014). This program is not only meant to assist children in their education, but also support them and learn how to respond to the violence that is rampant in schools. The UNICEF has reported that Jordan has the highest level of violence in schools, thus, a program has been pivotal in reducing in-school provocation by encouraging the use of words instead of physical violence to solve conflicts (Forman & Kruvant, 2014).
Through a thorough methodical research, Hudson et al. (2009) have established that post-conflict reconciliation process conducted without women is bound to break down at a faster rate than the one that encompasses both genders. Evidently, the fundamental challenge in this century is highlighted as the elimination of violence, barriers, and discrimination against women gives them a right to develop their strength and augment women’s creativity for better security of the globe.