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Social Sci LibreTexts

8: Feminism

  • Page ID
    11336
  • From the outset, feminist theory has challenged women’s near complete absence from traditional IR theory and practice. This absence is visible both in women’s marginalisation from decision-making and in the assumption that the reality of women’s day-to-day lives is not impacted by or important to international relations. Beyond this, feminist contributions to IR can also be understood through their deconstruction of gender – both as socially constructed identities and as a powerful organising logic. This means recognising and then challenging assumptions about masculine and feminine gender roles that dictate what both women and men should or can do in global politics and what counts as important in considerations of international relations. These assumptions in turn shape the process of global politics and the impacts these have on men and women’s lives. Rather than suggest that traditional IR was gender-neutral – that is, that gender and IR were two separate spheres that did not impact on each other – feminist theory has shown that traditional IR is in fact gender-blind. Feminist scholarship therefore takes both women and gender seriously – and in doing so it challenges IR’s foundational concepts and assumptions.