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Sex and World Peace

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  507 ratings  ·  76 reviews
"Sex and World Peace" unsettles a variety of assumptions in political and security discourse, demonstrating that the security of women is a vital factor in the security of the state and its incidence of conflict and war.

The authors compare micro-level gender violence and macro-level state peacefulness in global settings, supporting their findings with detailed analyses and
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Columbia University Press
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There have been very few books that have actually changed my mindset, and really changed the way I view the world. The first, The Pearl, by Steinbeck, the second, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, and third, Sex and World Peace. This book is a must read. It really changed the way I view international relations. It completely convinced me that promoting women's rights by beginning with securing their safety will dramatically change the face of international conflict. ...more
Zawn V
Jan 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Utterly dreadful. There are much better introductions to feminism and world politics than this nearly worthless volume.

Despite extensive endnotes, this book makes tons of unsupported claims, and reads like it was written by a high school student. For example, the authors repeatedly claim that "evolutionary theory" supports a theory wherein men structure power such that they can dominate women. Cringe. Some philosophies derived from evolutionary theory argue this, yes, but evolutionary theory its
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Once again, book club has broadened my horizons. This book is not always an easy read. I found chapter four particularly difficult to get through. It is written the most like a text book and had tons of statistics, maps, and charts, all of which were important. The chapters before and after are captivating and horrifying. I am amazed at how much this book made me think. I want my girls to understand how much they have to contribute and how important their voices are to society. The idea that was ...more
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Got a gift from my son for Xmas
Definitely a keeper (the book, and the son)
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thanks for the recommendation, Gloria Steinem!
Teo Mechea
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The introduction is a bit over-zealous and can seem far-fetched, thus I understand why so many reviewers here were put off by this book and never got past the first pages. However, I urge everyone to get passed it because the claims it makes are well supported, thoroughly researched and very well presented throughout the book though real cases, statistics and charts. The tone is that of an academic paper, although is very easy to read and understand, as it does a great job in explaining and usag ...more
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a phenomenal book that collected years of interdisciplinary study into one cohesive exploration of the relationship between women's equality and the security or violence of a state. It was more dense and academic than I expected when I first heard of it, but well worth the effort. I have invested a lot of time in the study of women's rights, but I still learned many things I had not previously known, and was offered a different slant on how to perceive the above relationship.

Due to bias
Craig Packer
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's going to take one helluva book to top Sex & World Peace as my favorite read of 2013. Whether it is the chapter dedicated to breaking down the evolutionary basis for patriarchy in our world, the global maps (not interactive) that drive home the current state of women around the world based on numerous robust--though still imperfect--data sets, or the authors' call to action for the future for individuals, organization, and nation states, the book is one of the most important contributions to ...more
Jun 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
One of the reasons I chose to read this book was that before beginning I thought I would disagree with what it says. I wanted to read something that would challenge my way of thinking, as well as help me become acquainted with the worldview of those with whom I disagree. I got the impression that this book would be based in feminist philosophy (not the same as good-for-women) and so it seemed like a good candidate.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover a large amount of common ground. Large port
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is mostly an academic collection of evidence suggesting that Sex and World Peace are connected from single cases of gendered violence to nationstate-wide fails to protect women and girls. It is structured somewhat like a term paper, starting with definitions, explaining the methodology and presenting the evidence. There are numerous examples from all over the world supporting the claims, even though more examples could have been given. I also don't think that the partly focus on Islam ...more
Jessica Haider
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is clearly a well-researched book jammed full of facts and theories about how improving the lives of girls & women will make the world a better and more peaceful place.

These are similar things to what is discussed in Melinda Gates' The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World (which I loved) but is much more detailed and dives deeper.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a vital, edifying book that I really needed to read during this frankly terrible time. The pedagogical tone might be off-putting to some readers, but I found it readable and approachable, as well as methodical and clear.

The theoretical foundations linking the establishment of violent patriarchy (manifested in physical insecurity and political precariousness of women) to insecurity of the state at the international level were lucid, and the review of the empirical data probing this relati
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know why this isn’t required reading in universities, for politicians, for journalists, for religious leaders, for teachers, for the military, for parents, for the general public.
This explores the correlation between how women are treated and with how much equity, and peace and state security. The authors show that societies and states where women do not have equity in law, where they are not physically safe and secure, and where they are not part of human decision-making councils, are
Leslie Thomas
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book should be required reading for every single person alive today. It lays out the issues that women and girls face throughout the world and how that affects their state security. Although it contains a lot of heavy and graphic material, I left feeling an extreme sense of motivation to follow their suggestions on how to make a difference.
Nina W
Aug 24, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
DNF around 40%. Some of the conclusions seem to go beyond the evidence supports, and the book is too academic for me to be able to easily assess whether this is the case. That significantly reduces the value I get from reading it, and given the academic style it's a bit of a slog, so I'm going to save myself the effort and read something else! ...more
Kennedy Hansen
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think this book was brilliant and taught me so much. A must read!
Mark Denney
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After reading a review from Gloria Steinem. I decided to read this book, and frankly I could not put it down. It brought me awareness to the atrocities that still happen throughout the world to women, and also showed that we still even have got a long way to go in the United States. At times necessarily graphic, I was exposed to a part of the world that is still horrific and must be changed so that all can thrive. As the book explains and recommends, humans are not living to their potential beca ...more
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A must read for all women and MEN. An eyeopening book about violence against women around the world and how it effects National and International security. It is not just an issue for women but for all human kind. The author uses research to give credibility to her theories and concludes with concrete suggestions for changing the state of the women's lives around the world. Though a long and difficult read at times it is well worth the time and effort to read in its entirety. ...more
Lexi Patterson
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. What a book. Some parts are very graphic and gave me a stomach ache, but I think it's important that we understand the evils of this world we live in so that we can make a difference for good. This book has broaden my eyes and inspired me to really make a difference with the small things I say and do. I recommend to all citizens of this world. ...more
Emily Andrews
this was very informative. most books that I read with a feminist viewpoint are first hand accounts and stories from survivors. this was the first one I have seen that is almost strictly analytical and boils it down to numbers, which give credence to personal stories.
I also liked how they came at it. both genders are needed, working in harmony for a better world.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
An important and eye-opening read (especially Chapter 2). We have to empower women around the world if we want to build better communities and stronger international relationships. Sign me up!

The only downside: a few comments about Islam I felt were harsh and one-sided. That was a bummer.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I came to this book through Hudson’s” Bare Branches”, which although not perfect, did leave me intrigued enough as to the relationship between women’s status and stability within a society. These authors seek to flesh out that question.
Although recognizing the limits of statistical correlation in proving causation, the authors show the reader that there is a greater correlation between a state’s stability and the physical security of women in its borders than with either the level of democracy
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. On the whole, it provides an overview of the ways in which gender dynamics impact peace and security and top-down and bottom-up approaches to combat these dynamics which perpetuate gender-based violence. What stuck with me the most was the statistical analysis on the security of women in relation to the security of states. That said, there were two repeated issues that I had with the book that made it frustrating to read.

First, the book constantly
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is primarily an academic argument for the link between women's security and the security of a nation. The authors repeatedly acknowledge that it is not the only factor but that policy makers must include the well-being of women when making decisions, both in relations with other countries and within a country. The book was incredible. It outlined several of the major injustices faced by women, both from a structural/government level and micro-level of gender violence and what should be ...more
Alex Carlson
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sex & World Peace is an insightful read about how there is a direct link between societies that trend toward peace and how those societies treat women. Specifically the authors argue that in order for a society to become more peaceful, women need to have better standing in family law, better representation in government, and better laws against domestic violence.

The authors bring in a mountain of evidence (the last third of the book is endnotes and works cited) to support their claim among a mix
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really important subject and some good analysis in here, but it’s quite dry in places. It starts well, and there’s a good mixture of analysis and anecdote, to keep the general reader interested at the same time as discussing what is a difficult and complex subject. However, there is a section in the middle that talks about data collection, and although I understand the complexities of the topic (and indeed some of the details of statistical analysis), it felt that this was too academic for a gen ...more
Justine B.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've started reading this book following the recommendation of UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson and I'm really happy to have done so. This book is a must read. Living in a country that I would consider fairly safe although still pretty unequal it is sometimes easy to forget the lacking condition of woman all around the world. This book provided good food for thought.

First time reading women condition linked to global peace and it gave interesting thoughts. One thing that I really enjoye
Sheridan Rea
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot recommend this book enough!

Sex and World Peace guides the reader through the fact that women's security is inextricably tied to national and international security. The authors share first hand accounts of abuse and discrimination by women all over the world and support these individual experiences with data collected on the state of women in every country. Their empirical evidence is not only descriptive but also supports the claim that when women are treated as equal in society, socie
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This text book on the state of the female population across the world takes a data-driven look on the factors that link the condition of the treatment of women to the state of the economy of that country. The extensive analysis provided by the book lays out a compelling argument in favour of provoding stronger female security world over that will lead to both greater, more stable growth for the families and in turn for the state (including a direct contributions to the country's GDP).

The most in
Roxanne Brook
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Empirical evidence showed how international security could not be achieved without female security; however it did not go far enough in dissecting the root causes of patriarchy within the international system. This is not surprising since IR is founded in male thought. Despite this criticism, I found the biological and anthropological descriptions of male/female relations fascinating. Overall, this book offers a good theoretical underpinning as to how men formed a patriarchal system that is main ...more
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Valerie M. Hudson (born 1958) is a professor of political science at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University as of January 2012. Prior to coming to Texas A&M, Hudson was a professor of political science at Brigham Young University for 24 years. She is most noted for having co-authored the book Bare Branches about the negative effects of China's overabundance of mal ...more

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