The Feminisms of International Relations
Feminist trained international relations (IR) theorists have always been met with skepticism. J. Tickner reflected on the “awkward silences” and “miscommunications” exchanged between her and traditional IR audiences. Her reflection teases out hidden social and political tensions. Questions like “what does gender have to do with theory?” and “What does this talk have to do with solving ‘real world’ problems?” have forced feminist theorists to perpetually justify the uses of gender-informed analysis.  Nearly two decades since Tickner’s article, the theoretical frame of gender remains misconstrued and widely misunderstood. In this essay, I argue that concepts of gender inform every aspect of our lives, from the production of our epistemological lenses, shaping our subjective, to our neurological and biological make-up. 
To better understand how the social construction of gender impacts both subfields of IR, human security (HS), and global governance (GG), I will outline contemporary literature and theoretical paradigms that challenge gender neutrality in the discipline. Secondly, I will describe the impact of gender on the conceptualization of HS and GG, particularly regarding violence and war. Since gendered social constructs are embedded in both HS and GG, I will deconstruct the liberal assumption of intervention and the “add women and stir” method that persists to present development constructs. Lastly, I argue for a more critical theoretical lens that questions individual core concepts of identity, culture, and nation to challenge personal biases and unconscious gender norms.
Gender, Security, and What?
Before engaging the literature, I want to clarify key terms, particularly gender and feminism. In contemporary society, gender has been defined as a binary state of being male or female. From an intersectional point of view, gender has less to do with ones’ biological sex and more to do with the socially constructed ideas of “man” and “woman.” That is not to say that our sex doesn’t shape the experiences of gender or vice versa, but that gender is a character, a socially constructed role, designated to us at birth. Sandra Harding identifies three processes in which gender is created and reproduced. Firstly, binary gendered metaphors and expectations are assigned to the landscape of a body. Using these gendered expectations, society organizes itself into two binary forms of conduct. Performing a reenactment of those expectations and values, activities are divided up between the two groups. This framework of understanding gender also outlines the process of other social constructed phenomenon, such as race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
Consequently, gender doesn’t just assign human bodies to a category without effect. It comes to define that body’s social and structural position, assigning expected roles within society. These binary expectations have been crucial in maintaining men’s superiority over women, referred to as patriarchy, and the social relations reflected in violence, war, and international relations. In theory, feminism is the social and political equality of men and women. Broadening this effort, many feminists are working towards doing away with the traditional binary concept of gender, detaching it from biological sex, by pointing to the multiple variations of human biology and anatomy.
Another key term needed to define in this essay is global governance (GG). Thomas Weiss and Rorden Wilkinson define GG as “the sum of the informal and formal ideas, values, norms, procedures, and institutions that help all actors — states, [sic] international organizations, civil society, and address trans-boundary problems.” This definition assumes that government and other nonstate actors are rational and can expand various forms of intervention for the purpose of solving transnational problems. Through the growth of liberal concepts of good governance and socio-economic development, the expansion of GG has produced mechanisms and institutions for the advancement of humanity, such as the legal concept of human rights and the United Nations.
Human Security (HS) emerged out of the liberal ideas of IR. Conventional security studies focuses on protecting the state by building up militaries to protect national sovereignty and territory, known as national security. Collective security emerged after WWI with the establishment of the League of Nations.  Following this tradition, Pakistani intellectualist Mahbub ul Haq proposed the concept of “human security” in 1993 which was formally adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 1994. According to the UN, a human security approach is,
“a dynamic and practical policy framework for addressing widespread and cross-cutting threats facing governments and people”… “The application of human security calls for an assessment of human insecurities that is people-centred, comprehensive, context-specific and preventive.”
This broad definition is representative of ongoing debates by theorists to define an approach that doesn’t encroach on member states’ sovereignty yet still challenges the failures of conventional state-centric framework of IR. 
Gendered Tensions and the Masculinization of the National
Developing a theoretical lens for understanding gendered social production starts with defining the dual structures that separate human bodies. Tahmina Rashid argues that “the human body is not only a physical entity but also a cultural artifact; its meaning and experience reflect the socio-cultural and historical spaces it occupies.”  Historically, the social expectations placed on women have banned them from the boardrooms and political spaces where national and international decision-making occurs. Iris M. Young reflects on the logic of male domination, remarking the contrast between man, the “selfish Dominator,” and the “self-sacrificer.”  A man’s status is bound to his ability to both dominate and protect women.
The gendering of our social reality has made the female body a site of authority, possession, and protection. The conventional view of security, which focuses on military intervention, was built on gendered assumptions that intimately link our safety and security to that of man’s masculinity and his territory, his woman. Many women have come to allow patriarchy in exchange for the protection of man. In the construction of gendered IR, women have come to “adore her protector,” the nation state, and “looks to him in gratitude for his manliness and admiration of his willingness to face the dangers of the world for her sake.”  As a result, IR, GG, and HS have been shaped and constructed by ideas, values, and assumptions of gender.
The social construction of gender assumes that women are the exact opposite of men and as a result are less than men, which can create a environment for gendered violence. In liberal feminist theory, women’s feminine subordination was thought of as an unequal distribution of power and authority in the decision-making processes. Feminist thinkers, such as Rashid and Enloe, conclude that gender isn’t only an effect of violence but is instrumental in creating and reproducing new forms of violence. Both men and women are perpetrators of gender-based violence and victims of gendered violence. Aili Mari Tripp et al. outlined several gendered security threats, including “civil conflict, economic vulnerability, trafficking, domestic violence, social marginalization, and other gendered phenomena.”  Concerned with global security threats, actors in GG have created legal and developmental avenues to curb violent gendered norms.  Human security is only one of many complimentary and contradictory security frameworks applied to this intervention.
Contextualizing Gendered Effects
As previously established, gender not only exists as a social construct but also manifests structurally and physically. These manifestations directly affect the individual at the local, national, and international level. HS, as a framework for GG, has been instrumental in protecting women’s rights internationally. Since its adoption by the UNDP in 1994, the theoretical framework of HS has produced multiple intergovernmental and nongovernmental interventions. Acknowledging the intersection of gender and violence, the Security Council adopted resolution 1325 in 2010, reaffirming,
“The important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.”
Although many governments and nonstate actors have taken some initiative in combating gendered issues, the core principles underlying the thematic structure of development has been highly criticized by post-structural, Marxist, and critical feminists.
Over the last several decades, international women’s organizations have increased significantly. For leading liberal women’s organizations, gender mainstreaming is a way to strengthen women’s participation in society and decision-making. According to the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, gender-mainstreaming is “a strategy which aims to bring about gender equality and advance women’s rights by infusing gender analysis, gender-sensitive research, women’s perspectives and gender equality goals into mainstream policies, projects and institutions.”  In this section I will highlight two major issues in gender security studies; the lack of socio-economically integrated GG and the assumption that gender only involves women.
The current structure of society places elite men and women at the decision-making table and excludes the majority of women of color and those from underdeveloped nations.  The question on most feminists’ lips in regards to HS is “whose security policy makers are seeking; that of the state, of people, or of women, in particular?”  Documenting the masculine structure of international politics, critical scholars question the “add women and stir method” traditionally employed by liberal development schemes because there is no established correlation between an increase of women in politics and the passage of gender equality legislation. Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat concluded that even the UN system, organizations dealing with gender issues are “ informed by the demands and expectations of liberal feminism, which seeks integrating women into male dominated domains and structures without contesting the foundation and function of those structures.”  The add women and stir method doesn’t take into account intersectional reality of hierarchical social structures, including class, race, ethnicity, caste, nationality, capability, etc.
Another major critique of GG and HS has been the way in which the term gender has become synonymous with the word women, curtailing men’s issues. The majority of programs that deal with gender don’t provide programming or research on gender-based crimes against men. As Tripp remarks, critical feminist scholars have “examined the relationship between masculinity and war, not just assumptions about men as fighters, but also men as civilians who are targeted because of gender stereotypes.”  Proving ones’ masculinity comes with an underestimated and underexplored amount of physical and psychological trauma that is still taboo to discuss politically and privately. Without including men, gender issues will never be solved, as the perpetuations of gender norms are hinged on and relative to the concept of man.
Although GG and HS have been criticized for re-enforcing negative gender norms and perpetuating some forms of violence, a feminist perspective on security studies can address gendered violence by depolarizing the feminine and masculine assumptions influencing states’ decision-making. Feminist thinking of gender differs geographically and contextually. For some, it may mean focusing only on women or biological differences such as sex. These underlying values shape the thematic structure of GG and HS. According to Myra Marx Ferree, feminist looking to reduce insecurity and promote social justice must create “new approaches to apply for the good of both women and men, not just the same old ‘add women and stir’ type of inclusion.” 
The quest for gender equality is no longer just a “women’s issue” but a strategic human and global problem that affects all aspects of human organization. Since gender is instrumental in producing and maintaining violence across the globe, GG and HS will experiment with various gender frameworks. It’s important that feminists continue to question whether we are making progress in gender equality or are these interventions only benefiting a privileged few. As predominant feminists highlight, the “empowerment of women would then mean not taking away someone else’s power but the development of their own capabilities.”  It’s fundamentally our gendered identity, culture, and experiences that shape IR, GG, and HS.
Axworthy, Lloyd. “Human security and global governance: Putting people first.” Global governance 7.1 (2001): 19–23.
Carpenter, R. Charli. “Recognizing gender-based violence against civilian men and boys in conflict situations.” Security Dialogue 37.1 (2006): 83–103.
Enloe, Cynthia. Bananas, beaches and bases: Making feminist sense of international politics. Univ of California Press, 2014.
Finkelstein, Lawrence S., and Marina S. Finkelstein, eds. Collective security. Chandler, 1966.
Finnemore, Martha, and Kathryn Sikkink. “International norm dynamics and political change.” International organization 52.04 (1998): 887–917.
Franceschet, Antonio. “Global legalism and human security.” A Decade of Human Security: Global Governance and New Multilateralisms (2006): 53–62,
Gasper, Des, and Thanh-Dam Truong. “Deepening development ethics: From economism to human development to human security.” The European Journal of Development Research 17.3 (2005): 372–384.
Gasper, Des. “Securing humanity: Situating ‘human security’ as concept and discourse.” Journal of Human Development 6.2 (2005): 221–245.
Harding, Sandra G. The science question in feminism. Cornell University Press, 1986.
Kabasakal Arat, Zehra F. “Forging a global culture of human rights: Origins and prospects of the international bill of rights.” Human Rights Quarterly 28.2 (2006): 416–437.
King, Gary, and Christopher JL Murray. “Rethinking human security.” Political science quarterly 116.4 (2001): 585–610.
Myra Marx Ferree, “The Discursive Politics of Gendering Human Security: Beyond the Binaries,” in Gender, Violence, and Human Security: critical feminist perspectives. Eds. Tripp, Aili Mari, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig, NYU Press, 2013.
Rashid, Tahmina. “Militarized Masculinities, Female Bodies, and ‘Security Discourse’in Post-9/11 Pakistan.” Strategic Analysis 33.4 (2009): 566–578.
Schmitz, Sigrid. Gendered neurocultures: feminist and queer perspectives on current brain discourses. Zaglossus, 2014.
Tickner, J. “You just don’t understand: troubled engagements between feminists and IR theorists.” International Studies Quarterly 41.4 (1997): 611–632.
Tripp, Alili Mari, “Toward a Gender Perspective on Human Security,” in Gender, Violence, and Human Security: critical feminist perspectives. Eds. Tripp, Aili Mari, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig, NYU Press, 2013.
Young, Iris Marion. “The logic of masculinist protection: Reflections on the current security state.” Signs 29.1 (2003): 1–25.
 J. Tickner, “You just don’t understand: troubled engagements between feminists and IR theorists.” International Studies Quarterly 41.4 (1997): 611–632.
 Sigrid Schmitz, Gendered neurocultures: feminist and queer perspectives on current brain discourses. Zaglossus, 2014.
 See Sandra G. Harding, The science question in feminism. Cornell University Press, 1986. 24–32.
 Thomas G. Weiss,and Rorden Wilkinson. “Rethinking global governance? Complexity, authority, power, change.” International Studies Quarterly 58, no. 1 (2014): 212.
 For more on global legalism and developmentalist, see Antonio Franceschet, “Global legalism and human security.” A Decade of Human Security: Global Governance and New Multilateralisms (2006): 53–62, and Des Gasper and Thanh-Dam Truong. “Deepening development ethics: From economism to human development to human security.” The European Journal of Development Research 17.3 (2005): 372–384.
 For more on collective security, see Lawrence S. Finkelstein and Marina S. Finkelstein, eds. Collective security. Chandler, 1966.
 United Nations, “The Human Security Approach,” United Nations Website. http://www.un.org/humansecurity/human-security-unit/human-security-approach
 For debates on defining human security, see Des Gasper. “Securing humanity: Situating ‘human security’ as concept and discourse.” Journal of Human Development 6.2 (2005): 221–245.
 Rashid, Tahmina. “Militarized Masculinities, Female Bodies, and ‘Security Discourse’in Post-9/11 Pakistan.” Strategic Analysis 33.4 (2009): 567.
 Iris Marion. Young, “The logic of masculinist protection: Reflections on the current security state.” Signs 29.1 (2003): 4.
 Young “The logic,” 5.
 For more on gender and violence, “Eds. Tripp, Aili Mari, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig, “Toward a Gender Perspective on Human Security,” in Gender, Violence, and Human Security: critical feminist perspectives. NYU Press, 2013.
 Alili Mari Tripp “Toward a Gender Perspective on Human Security,” in Gender, Violence, and Human Security: critical feminist perspectives. Eds. Tripp, Aili Mari, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig, NYU Press, 2013.
 For more on the effect of women’s rights organizations on human security, see Murdie, Amanda. Help or harm: The human security effects of international NGOs. Stanford University Press, 2014.
 OSAGI, “Landmark Resolution on Women, Peace and Security,” United Nations. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/wps/#resolution
 Murdie Help or Harm, 7.
 Porter, Fenella, and Caroline Sweetman, eds. Mainstreaming gender in development: A critical review. Oxfam, 2005.1.
 For more on socio-economic elitism, see Kabasakal Arat, Zehra F. “Forging a global culture of human rights: Origins and prospects of the international bill of rights.” Human Rights Quarterly 28.2 (2006): 416–437, and Enloe, Cynthia. Bananas, beaches and bases: Making feminist sense of international politics. Univ of California Press, 2014.
 Trip Toward a Gender, 9.
 Tadros, Mariz. “Introduction: Quotas–Add Women and Stir?.” IDS bulletin 41, no. 5 (2010): 1–10.
 Kabasakal Arat “Forging a Global, 674.
 For more on missing men, see Cornwall, Andrea. “Missing men? Reflections on men, masculinities and gender in GAD.” IDS bulletin 31, no. 2 (2000): 18–27.
 Tripp “Toward a Gender,” 10.
 Myra Marx Ferree, “The Discursive Politics of Gendering Human Security: Beyond the Binaries,” in Gender, Violence, and Human Security: critical feminist perspectives. Eds. Tripp, Aili Mari, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig, NYU Press, 2013.
 As cited in, Kabasakal Arat “Forging a Global,” 682.