The First Political Order - How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide

Event details

Department of International Relations Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 12 March 2019


SDSC Reading Room, Room 3.27, Hedley Bull Building (130), ANU
ANU Canberra


Valerie M Hudson


Ben Day

Global history records an astonishing variety of forms of social organization. Yet almost universally, males subordinate females. How does the relationship between men and women shape the wider political order? In this seminar, Valerie M. Hudson will present on her forthcoming book The First Political Order (co-authored with Donna Lee Bowen and Perpetua Lynne Nielsen), a groundbreaking demonstration that the persistent and systematic subordination of women underlies all other institutions, with wide-ranging implications for global security and development.

Incorporating research findings spanning a variety of social-science disciplines and comprehensive empirical data detailing the status of women around the globe, the book shows that female subordination functions almost as a curse upon nations. A society’s choice to subjugate women has significant negative consequences: worse governance, worse conflict, worse stability, worse economic performance, worse food security, worse health, worse demographic problems, worse environmental protection, and worse social progress. Yet despite the pervasive power of social and political structures that subordinate women, history—and the data—reveal possibilities for progress.

The First Political Order shows that when steps are taken to reduce the hold of inequitable laws, customs, and practices, outcomes for all improve. It offers a new paradigm for understanding insecurity, instability, autocracy, and violence, explaining what the international community can do now to promote more equitable relations between men and women, and thereby security and peace. With comprehensive empirical evidence of the wide-ranging harm of subjugating women, it is an important book for security scholars, social scientists, policy makers, historians, and advocates for women worldwide.

Valerie M. Hudson is professor and George H. W. Bush Chair in the Department of International Affairs of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where she directs the Program on Women, Peace, and Security. She is a coauthor of Sex and World Peace (Columbia, 2012) and The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy (Columbia, 2015), among others.

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