Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Equalising the Politics of Gender: A Feminist Approach to Foreign Security

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: International Relations
Wordcount: 2515 words Published: 24th Nov 2020

Reference this


Security concerns in international relations have many facets. These many facets include climate change, cybersecurity, water scarcity, arms race, and gender conflicts. These challenges can span through politics, economics, social, and cultural affairs, which affects the human rights of any given state.

Gender conflict is one of the many problems that plague the 21st-century international relations. It is often being realised through the deploring state in which the females are treated in society as compared to the male. This ill-treatment of the male could be seen through the rise of sexual violence, gender wage gap, gender abuse, and under-education of women in most third world countries. This is why this study will examine the subject of security by using the theoretical tool of feminism. Feminism will be explored to show that it could become an effective instrument of change in the helm of foreign security.

The speech tagged “Addressing Complex Contemporary Challenges to International Peace and Security” will be examined using the theoretical tool of feminism. This speech was made by the United Nation’s Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, at an open debate in 2017 in Japan.


Feminism runs through the theory of Marxism and also stands on its own. The theory establishes the inequality that exists between the male gender and the female gender in a given society. Overtime, feminists have taken pains to disturb complacent policies, norms, and values of the patriarchal society in order to eradicate sexist domination or violence, which mars the transformation of a society (Childs and Fowler, 2006). In other words, the aim of feminism is to make room for equality for women in a society that deems men as more superior.

The clamour for gender equality posed by feminists could go a long way in nipping in the bud a wide range of problems that have since plagued most countries. These problems include gender violence (which are often sexual), female repression (often realised through education, chores, or vocation), and the under-utilisation of women.

In the field of international relations, feminism can go a long way in suppressing gender conflicts and the rise of sectarianism that affects most countries of the world. Through its being wielded, feminism could act as a positive and effective instrument when addressing some of the many problems of foreign security that affect the 21st century.


“We must invest in social cohesion, so that all people feel they have a stake in society.”

By the United Nation’s Secretary-General (Guterres, 2017).

The above statement was made by Antonio Guterres, the United Nation’s Secretary-General during an open debate on “Addressing Complex Contemporary Challenges to International Peace and Security” in Japan. Through the speech, United Nation’s Secretary-General, revealed common threats (and their possible solutions) to national securities that are adversely affecting foreign security of the 21st century. These problems include the threat of nuclear weapons, cybersecurity danger, climate change; armed conflicts; and the problem of marginalization, which is inherent in gender inequality. In order to tackle these threats to national security, the United Nation’s Secretary-General stated that prevention must be the effective key to end these foreign security challenges.

The problem of gender inequality is common among all the countries of the world. It stems from norms and values instituted by religion, tradition, and societal laws. Women are usually at the shorter end of the stick in light of this inequality. It is not surprising that any given society is often structured into a patriarchal mode in such a way that it marginalises women, and it places men as domineering or superior. The marginalisation and unfairness inherent in this thinking often brings about the rise of sectarianism and violence in gender. The inequality inherent in gender is often structured into hierarchical binary opposition in which the male is always placed higher than the female, irrespective of their skills, abilities, or education. This instituted imbalance is what feminists strive to eradicate. It is then not surprising that this common challenge to foreign security was addressed by the United Nation’s Secretary General.

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

Furthermore, the United Nation’s Secretary-General started by depicting one of the many things that are often realised before “the outbreak of widespread violence” (Guterres, 2017). He stated that violence, more often than not, stems from repression which leads to a sense of marginalisation in the society. In order to prevent this foreign threat to national security, the United Nation’s Secretary-General urged Japan to do more by empowering their women in such a way that it blurs the line of inequality that exists between the male and the female in the society. He acknowledged that this is one of the most effective means through which widespread violence could be tackled in any given society. In order to eradicate the problem of gender inequality, the United Nation’s Secretary-General stated:

We must invest in social cohesion, so that all people feel they have a stake in society. We also know that gender equality is closely linked with resilience, and that women’s participation is crucial to success, from conflict prevention to peace-making and sustaining peace. Where women are empowered, societies flourish, and peace processes have a better chance of taking hold. We must also do more to address the systematic violence faced by women before, during and after conflict, and to pursue justice for perpetrators as an essential part of post-conflict healing and recovery. (Guterres, 2017)

From the above, the United Nation’s Secretary-General brought to the attention of the Japanese people the importance of empowering women. He stated that this single struggle to equalise gender could go a long way in fostering peace and preventing conflict in the country. The United Nation’s Secretary-General also mentioned systematic violence of female violence, which has since been on the rise in the 21st century. He revealed that this systematic violence—often borne of sexual depravity—could be curbed if and when there is gender-equal policies in place that could tackle these gender-related challenges.

The United Nation’s Secretary General further stated that one of the effective ways of handling gender conflict is through the action taken right after the violence has taken place. As earlier stated, women are—more often than not—usually prone to the danger of sexual violence. Sexual violence is one of the many crimes that are borne out of gender inequality. Sexual violence includes rape, sexual harassment, forced exposure, physical, verbal, or/and mental abuse, and genital mutilation. The perpetrators of sexual violence are usually men in higher rank either physically, in the place of work, or in any other position of power.  The United Nation’s Secretary General urged the Japanese government to “pursue justice for perpetrators as an essential part of post-conflict healing and recovery” (Guterres, 2017). In other words, Guterres stated that one fundamental ways of curbing gender violence is through the fostering of harsher laws to the culprits of the act. One of the ways of doing this is to make the crime of sexual violence a capital offence. This will go a long way in making the act of sexual violence an unattractive one with brutal consequences attached to it.

In addition, bridging the gender gap in education and wages is another way of curbing the mayhem of gender conflict. A recent research revealed that women get 40% less than their male colleagues in their place of work (Soble, 2015). This is also coupled with the revelation that 80 percent of public companies in Japan have no female directors (Soble, 2015). The gender inequality inherent in the aforementioned are due to the country’s traditional ideal that places women as wife first and profession as secondary. This patriarchal act does not only give room to gender inequality, it also stagnates their economy. This is why the United Nation’s Secretary General urged Japanese government to address the instituted gender problem in order to secure international peace and security.

Moreover, when the problem of gender equality is addressed, it will go a long way in tackling threats to national security, which are often culled from repression and sectarianism. Through this, it is apparent that feminism as a theory in international relations does not only address hierarchical binary opposition (as used in Marxism), it also tackles the societal gender politics that births violence. It is then no wonder that Lois Tyson, in her book Critical Theory Today stated that feminism tries to find ways by which any cultural actions, inactions, and traditional production “reinforces or undermines the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women” (Tyson, 2006).


Foreign security is often buffeted by many challenges. One of these challenges is the problem of gender inequality. The speech by the United Nation’s Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres tagged “Addressing Complex Contemporary Challenges To International Peace and Security” in Japan revealed one of the effective means to tackle widespread violence in any given society. He stated that violence often stems from repression and marginalisation. One of the primary means by which this could be curbed is to empower women in the society. Empowering women is also realised through the creation of female-friendly policies that prevent them from violence and abuse. He further urged the Japanese government to put in place harsher punishments for culprits of sexual violence. This, he revealed, is one of the most effective ways of making gender conflict less attractive to the populace.



Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: