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DHP P204: Women in National Security

Course Description

This seminar examines key issues in national security and global affairs through the lens of gender, placing a specific emphasis on the role of women in peace, war, intelligence, and governance. After grounding gender analysis in international relations theory, the seminar proceeds with three sections. The first section focuses on women in governance. In this section, we focus on women leaders, including those who have served as heads of state (including during times of war), as well as in parliaments around the world. What are some of the stereotypes of women leaders and the challenges they confront in rising to the top? Do women differ from men in such leadership positions? Would state interactions be more peaceful and our lives more secure if women ran the world? The seminar then moves from women in governance to the second broad section: women in warfare. In this section, two characterizations rise to the forefront: women as victims during conflict, including from displacement, sexual violence, and the disruption of everyday life, and then women as combatants during conflict, including in the armed forces, resistance movements, and terrorist organizations. The final section of the seminar examines a range of select topics related to Women and National Security. We explore women as builders of peace through peace accords and post-conflict reconstruction; the experiences of women serving in the Intelligence Services; the day-to-day practical realities confronting women with careers in global affairs; and how men can serve as agents of change for equality.