The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide

The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide


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Global history records an astonishing variety of forms of social organization. Yet almost universally, males subordinate females. How does the relationship between men and women shape the wider political order? The First Political Order is a groundbreaking demonstration that the persistent and systematic subordination of women underlies all other institutions, with wide-ranging implications for global security and development.

Incorporating research findings spanning a variety of social science disciplines and comprehensive empirical data detailing the status of women around the globe, the book shows that female subordination functions almost as a curse upon nations. A society’s choice to subjugate women has significant negative consequences: worse governance, worse conflict, worse stability, worse economic performance, worse food security, worse health, worse demographic problems, worse environmental protection, and worse social progress. Yet despite the pervasive power of social and political structures that subordinate women, history—and the data—reveal possibilities for progress. The First Political Order shows that when steps are taken to reduce the hold of inequitable laws, customs, and practices, outcomes for all improve. It offers a new paradigm for understanding insecurity, instability, autocracy, and violence, explaining what the international community can do now to promote more equitable relations between men and women and, thereby, security and peace. With comprehensive empirical evidence of the wide-ranging harm of subjugating women, it is an important book for security scholars, social scientists, policy makers, historians, and advocates for women worldwide.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231194679
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 08/31/2021
Pages: 616
Sales rank: 1,120,706
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Valerie M. Hudson is a University Distinguished Professor and holds the George H. W. Bush Chair in the Department of International Affairs of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where she directs the Program on Women, Peace, and Security. She is a coauthor of Sex and World Peace (Columbia, 2012) and The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy (Columbia, 2015), among others.

Donna Lee Bowen is professor emerita of political science and Middle East studies at Brigham Young University. Her publications include Everyday Life in the Muslim Middle East (third edition, 2014).

Perpetua Lynne Nielsen is professor of statistics at Brigham Young University.

Table of Contents

Part I: The First Political Order
1. The First Political Order Is the Sexual Political Order
2. The Oldest Security Provision Mechanism
3. Assessing the Patrilineal/Fraternal Syndrome Today
Part II: The Effects of the First Political Order
4. The Effects of the Syndrome, Part One: Governance and National Security
5. The Tremors Caused by Obstructed Marriage Markets: A Closer Look
6. The Effects of the Syndrome, Part Two: Human, Economic, and Environmental Security
7. The Effects by the Numbers: The Syndrome and Measures of National Outcomes
Part III: Change
8. Change: Historical Successes and Failures
9. Conclusion: Contemporary Applications
Appendix I: Syndrome Scores for 176 Countries
Appendix II: Colonial Heritage Status Scores
Appendix III: Testing the Effects: Methods and Extended Results
Appendix IV: Dichotomization Cutpoints for Logistic Regression Analysis
Appendix V: High-Syndrome-Encoding Nations with Unexpectedly Good National Outcomes

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