International Relations: Approaches to the Study of IR and the Feminist Approach of IR

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Feminists Theories

  • Feminism as an academic discipline grew out of feminist’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Feminism is a set of movement aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, social rights and equal opportunities for women. Like their feminist counterparts all over the world, feminist in India seek gender equality, the right to work for equal wages, the right to equal access to health and education and equal political rights.

  • The issues also covered the culture specific bounds like patriarchal society (such as inheritance laws and the practice of widow immolation)

The history of feminism in India can be divided into three phases:-

  • Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, initiated when male colonists began to speak out against social evils.

  • The second phase from 1915 to Indian independence, when Gandhiji incorporated the women ‘s movement into quit India movement and independent women’s organisations began to emerge.

  • Finally, the third phase, post- independence which has been focused on fair treatment of women at home (after marriage), in the work force and right to political parity.

Liberal Feminists

  • The early liberal feminists were the first to criticize the confinement of women to the private sphere, and favored their entry into public sphere, though, they didn’t wish to challenge the domestic space. Accordingly, they favored women’s right in the public sphere to strengthen their skills to handle domestic responsibility in more effective ways. (Women’s should be educated to become better wives and mothers)

  • Mary Wollstonecraft in her book, ‘A Vindication of the Rights of women’ argue, that a democracy is not a ‘true’ one unless women get right to vote and right to get education too.

Radical Feminists

sees Patriarchy or the patriarchal system as the real oppressor of Women. They opined that there is politics even in the private realm. Alison Jaggar said, ‘Personal in Political ‘.

Eco Feminism

  • describes movements and philosophies that link feminism with ecology. Eco-feminists relates the oppression of Women to the oppression of nature.

  • Post Modern Feminists- They claim that there is no fixed female identity. The socially constructed identities can be constructed or deconstructed.

  • Marxists feminists focused on the origin of sexual division of labour and brought into notice the ‘invisibility’ of domestic work which makes what is considered to be ‘Women’s work’ insignificant and non-productive. Their basic contention comprises the view of existence of economic inequality that exists between the classes. The traditional Marxist theories focuses on production, exploitation and capitalism as the root cause.

The Feminist Approach

  • It is propounded by renowned feminists like Cynthia Enloe and Spike Peterson.

  • It suggests that international relations are competitive power oriented and exploitative mainly because of man domination in politics.

  • It argues that international relations would have been more balanced, harmonious and effective if women were given their due share.

  • Liberal feminists opined that to create a gender equality , education , political mobilization and pressure to change is required.

  • Radical feminists are of the view that capitalism is the root cause of gender inequality and this can be weeded out by socialism.

  • Critics however point out that gender inequality and domination by man cannot be the root of international problems and it is the society which is to be addressed to remedy gender inequality.

  • Feminists perspective entered the international relations discipline at the end of the 1980s.

  • There are many feminists’ theories, all trying to explain women’s subordination: however, they all have different reasons for women’s subordination.

  • IR Feminists use Gender as a category of analysis.

  • Gender is a system of social hierarchy in which masculine characteristics are more valued than feminine one.

  • Gender is a structure that signifies unequal power relationship between women and men.

  • Liberal feminists have investigated problems of refugee women , income inequalities between men and women , and the kinds of human rights violations incurred disproportionately by women such as rape and trafficking in war.

  • They look for women in the institutions and practices of global politics and observe how their presence and absence affects and is affected by international policy making.

  • Feminists critical theory has roots in Gramscian Marxism.it explores both the ideational and material manifestations of gendered identities and gendered power in global politics .Sandra Whitworth is an important name here.

  • Feminists constructivists study the processes whereby ideas about gender influence global politics, as well as the ways that global politics shape ideas about Gender. Elisabeth Prugal is a feminist’s constructivists.

  • Post structuralists feminists point out that men have generally been seen as the knowers , and that what has counted as knowledge has generally been based on men’s lives in public sphere.

  • Post-colonialists’ feminists focus on colonial relation of domination and subordination, established under European Imperialism in the 18th and 19th century.

Feminists Definition of Security

  • Feminists define security broadly to include the diminution of all forms of violence: physical , economic and ecological.

  • Traditional stories about war which portray men are protector and women as being protected are being challenged by todays war reality in which victimized numbers are those of women and children.

  • War association with masculinity and the image of a soldier as heroic are challenged by an increasing number of women in militaries around the world.

MCQs

1. Feminists perspective entered the international relations discipline in _____?

  1. 1990s

  2. 1970s

  3. 1980s

  4. 2000

Ans. C. 1980s

Explanation: Feminists perspective entered the international relations discipline at the end of the 1980s. There are many feminists theories, all trying to explain women’s subordination: however, they all have different reasons for women’s subordination.

2. ‘A Vindication of the Rights of women’ is written by?

  1. Kate Millet

  2. Mary Wollstonecraft

  3. Astell

  4. Peterson

Ans. B. Mary Wollstonecraft

Explanation: Mary Wollstonecraft in her book, ‘A Vindication of the Rights of women’ argue, that a democracy is not a ‘true’ one unless women get right to vote and right to get education too. Early liberal Feminists mainly demanded equal rights for women in parity with men.

3. Feminists approach to IR is propounded by?

  1. Cynthia Enloe and Spike Peterson.

  2. Betty Friedan

  3. Both a and b

  4. None

Ans. Cynthia Enloe and Spike Peterson.

Explanation: Feminists approach to IR is propounded by renowned feminists like Cynthia Enloe and Spike Peterson.

It suggests that international relations are competitive power oriented and exploitative mainly because of man domination in politics.

4. Post structuralists feminists points out men as generally_____?

a. Knower

b. Exploiter

c. Ignorant

d. All

Ans . A. Knower

Explanation: Post structuralists feminists point out that men have generally been seen as the knowers , and that what has counted as knowledge has generally been based on men’s lives in public sphere. They claim there is a link between knowledge and power.

5. Who among the following is a feminist constructivists?

a. Elisabeth Prugl

b. Peterson

c. Sandra Whitworth

d. None

Ans. A. Elisabeth Prugl

Explanation: Feminists constructivists study the processes whereby ideas about gender influence global politics, as well as the ways that global politics shape ideas about Gender. Elisabeth Prugl is a feminists constructivists.

#feminists movement

#Liberal Feminists#Radical Feminists#Marxists Feminists#Post Modern Feminists#Eco Feminists#Post Structuralist Feminists#Critical Theory Of Feminism#Refugee Women#War#Inequalities

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