Women, Poverty, &
What is justice?
Is it a goal or objective? UN Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
Is it a matter of due process? Equality;
recognition; right to life, liberty, security
Is it a balance or equilibrium; fairness?
Assets/wealth of states compared to other
One out of five lives in abject poverty
70 percent of these are women & children
2.2 million die of infectious diseases each
Malnutrition is at the core of all preventable
Children often do not go to school
Many children are abandoned or leave
“home” or are sold to human traffickers
Five indicators of poverty
Incidence of extreme poverty – proportion of
people living on less than one dollar a day
Access to primary & secondary education & the
adult literacy rate
Mortality of children under five years of age
Population with access to safe drinking water
Causes of poverty
Globalization (few resources; no capital;
no foreign investment; inability to
Conflict (interstate & civil war – political &
No access to clean drinking water nor
Lack of access to education – low literacy,
Low income, societal attitudes, violence,
malnutrition, lack of education, &
inequality (including women’s lack of
access to economic, social, & political
opportunities) together foster poverty.
The international community helps
states with economic & health concerns,
but societal attitudes & inequality have
traditionally been considered problems
to be solved at the state level.
Feminist Theory of International
Men interpret history in terms of wars,
weapons, & conquests (military or
economic) – high politics
Nearly all cultures reward men for
violence; high politics has always been
dominated by men.
Mao Zedong said “Revolution (i.e.,
male violence) is not a dinner party
(i.e., female activity)
In mainstream international relations,
consideration of concerns associated with
low politics, such as international
development, world poverty, women’s
issues, and human rights comes after the
issues of war & security have been
Feminist theorists argue that
traditional high politics is irrelevant
to today’s security concerns. The
modern world is highly
interdependent & faces multiple
threats from so many sources that
state independence may no longer
be possible nor desirable.
Individuals face many forms of insecurity:
ethnic conflict, poverty, natural catastrophes,
local terrorist acts, unemployment, family
violence, and environmental degradation.
None of these have been traditionally
defined as national security goals.
Feminists argue that security can be gained
by striving for attachment & community.