Is there a “feminist peace?” Are states that exhibit domestic gender equality more peaceful internationally? Seemingly with little engagement with existing literature on women, peace and security, recent quantitative work has looked to evaluate the relationship between gender-related variables and a variety of conflict related outcomes, including interstate militarized disputes, interstate wars, and intrastate rebellions and civil wars. We read this quantitative work with and next to feminist analyses of the relationships between sex, sexuality, gender, and security to suggest that there is not a theoretical justification for a linear argument about gender equality and peace. We then compare that literature to ideal social science research design, suggesting that the empirical evidence for the “feminist peace” is less robust than some of its supporters would hope or claim. Rather than end with solely a critique, we argue for better measures for representing common understandings of gender equality and external conflict and cooperation, and use them to run statistical analyses of the relationships between gender equality and state behavior. Even with arguably better measures of gender equality and conflict, our results suggest that an oversimple argument about the relationship between gender equality and peace is inappropriate, inaccurate, and unhelpful.
Lunch will be provided. The full speaker series for the 2017-2018 academic year can be found here.