The psychological development debate of ‘nature versus nurture’ seeps into the arena of international politics when we pick up the lens of ‘gender’ to assess the foreign policies of countries. The feminist view point maintains that men are more inclined towards war and consider absence of war as a state of harmony. While elucidating the feminine dimension, feminists argue that women are less inclined towards war and the absence of war is considered ‘negative peace’ by them. For the ‘genetically different fragility’, social and economic justice maintain ‘positive peace’ in the society. Most of the polls conducted in the past clearly show the divergence in male and female opinion regarding America’s engagement in wars around the world. Another school of thought believes that genetic variations have little involvement in the international political discourses. Socialization of the individuals and policy matters are more dominant in the international sphere. History gives credit to iron ladies like Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom and Indira Gandhi of India for their firm-fist diplomatic strategies. ‘Women and politics’ has remained under discussion for reasons that have precipitated more conspicuously during 2012.
The billows of Arab Spring had already signalled a greater say of women in the public sphere. We saw a Saudi woman, wearing head scarf, who was the last one to cross the finishing line in Olympics 2012, but received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Sarah Attar at London Olympics
The pace of women on the running-track of world affairs also escalated. The global economic recession has pushed women to transform into bread winners-cum- home makers. With their increased share in the world’s wealth, socio-political mobility of women is justified. Even Afghanistan along with its complex stance on ‘women’s rights’ brought Malalai Joya (Afghan politician and human rights activist) to international headlines. Blogging, journalism and reporting were also swayed by the female pendulum. The US Secretary of the State Hillary Clinton stood to her critics and Hina Rabbani Khar became the first female foreign minister of Pakistan, the youngest one as well.
Angela Merkel the first female chancellor of Germany will receive the Heinz Galinski Award in Berlin by the end of 2012. She is ranked as the world’s fourth most powerful person in the world by Forbes magazine followed by Sonia Gandhi who is at the 11th place.
2012, reverberated the slogans of ‘women empowerment’ and presented the fruit that they bore. The US presidential chase resulted in the triumph of Obama along with a record number of women entering in the US Senate and House. One fifth of the Senate will now be filled by women and the House will host 76 women – 56 Democrats and 20 Republicans. Patty Murray, a seasoned Democratic senator acknowledged the increase in the female political muscle. For the female voters, Obama-care or the health reforms introduced by Obama were an additional reason to vote for him apart from the economic policy. What is left to be seen is the impact of this ‘female influx’ on US foreign policy. If feminists are correct in their claims about men leaning towards aggression and war- a larger number of female politicians should at least advocate deweaponisation and cuts on defense budget.