The First Political Order: Sex, Governance and National Security
The turn-out to the Baha’i Chair of World Peace’s First Annual Lecture on Thursday, September 21st was impressive. The audience included University of Maryland students, teachers and deans, as well as amazing visitors from all over the world. There could not have been a better topic addressed in the presence of some of the most significant minds involved with the promotion of international peace.
Professor Valerie Hudson is professor and George H.W. Bush Chair in the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University. Her lecture, entitled The First Political Order: Sex, Governance and National Security, is part of the Baha’i Chair’s series focusing on the empowerment of women and peace.
Progression or Regression?
In her research and her lecture, Professor Hudson explores male-female relations and the numerous societal detriments that are significantly associated with the oppression of women. Right off the bat, she discussed more than six phenomena tightly linked with the status of women in society that work at macro and micro levels of society, including demographic, economic, and national insecurity.
There has been some progress in certain areas of inequality between sexes, including an increase of women in parliaments and a decrease in maternal mortality. That progress is nothing however, compared to the amount of regression and remaining detriments to the status of women in many other areas. The extent of the mistreatment to women that still exists is appalling. Laws exempt a rapist if he marries the victim. Female infanticide and sex-selective abortion promote abnormal sex ratios in numerous countries. Even in Texas, there was an incident where a man killed his cheating wife and her lover. For the lover’s injury, the husband received 50 years in jail. For the wife’s murder? Only four months.
Professor Hudson analyzed this mistreatment of women and correlated the findings with multiple variables like conflict, food insecurity, and health. The relationships have an incredibly high significance, with a p value of < .001. As a psychology student with experience in the art of frustrating statistical analyses, that number implies a level of significance that is rarely achieved in sociological studies and provides strong support for Professor Hudson’s conclusions.
I openly admit that I am biased in this issue, but can you blame me? I was raised being told that I was as capable of as any man. The few experiences I have had that may have suggested otherwise are nothing compared to what women experience everyday in other places around the world.
The political turmoil raging through the United States has had many effects on the morale and moralities of its citizens. Our international relations have been one of the main victims of this turmoil at a time when nations are becoming increasingly intertwined. It is the continued promotion of inequality Professor Hudson describes that is precisely the reason why we must not let them falter.
The Baha’i faith has a quote describing the need for this equality. Professor Hudson included it in her presentation and I would like to include it as well: “The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, that bird will not fly.”
Insecurities and conflict afflict countries that continue to foster these ideals, but if we choose to support the livelihood of women and equality between the sexes all over the world, we have the ability to make valuable strides towards peace.
You can watch the video of the Annual Lecture here.
About the Author
Julia Thomas is an undergraduate at the University of Maryland. She is studying Psychology with a minor in Law and Society. She is interested in forensic psychology, psychopathology and neurobiology and hopes to continue her education, but doesn’t really know where just yet.
Photo Credits: Lance Curry