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Date of Award
Sharon F. Lean
Gender equitable states are more peaceful than states with low levels of gender equality (Caprioli 2000, 2003, 2005; Caprioli and Boyer 2001; Hudson, et al. 2012). In contrast with other scholars who have emphasized the role of norms or biopolitics, I suggest that women’s political empowerment is driving the relationship between gender equality and lower conflict probability. I ask whether a state is less likely to become involved in international conflict when women can exercise political and civil rights. Using a multiple time series analysis on a cross-national data set (1930-2010), I investigate whether women’s political empowerment, expressed as a state’s annual score on the V-Dem Women’s Political Empowerment Index (Sundstrom, et al. 2015) is associated with a lower probability of involvement in, initiation of, and use of force in Militarized Interstate Disputes (Jones, et al. 1996). I use Generalized Estimating Equations to model the relationship between women’s political empowerment and conflict. I find no relationship between women’s political empowerment and the conflict measures. However, when I test the three dimensions of the index with the conflict dependent variables, I find that women’s civil society rights are associated with less use of force and war.
Based on the quantitative findings, I present two contrasting cases to understand the ways that high and low women’s civil society rights affect women’s peace activism. I examine the role of women’s civil society in pursuing peace in Guinea during a regional crisis (1999-2002) and in the United States during the first Gulf War (1990-1991). I find that women in Guinea effectively mobilized via a regional women’s peacemaking organization. The regional nature of the organization, drawing on membership within and outside of Guinea, enabled them to overcome risks in a repressive political environment. In the United States, women had ample rights but their activism was mediated by factors such as news media portrayals of the first Gulf War and a lack of national leadership for local groups. This study suggests a need for additional research into the relationship between women’s civil society participation and state peacefulness.
Gerring, Nicole Elise, "Empowered To Stop War? Testing The Women And Peace Hypothesis, 1930-2010" (2018). Wayne State University Dissertations. 2024.