Gender Relations as Causal in Militarization and War: A Feminist Standpoint


Cockburn, Cynthia. 2010. “Gender Relations as Causal in Militarization and War: A Feminist Standpoint.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 12 (2): 139-57.

Author: Cynthia Cockburn


Based on empirical research among women’s antiwar organizations worldwide, the article derives a feminist oppositional standpoint on militarization and war. From this standpoint, patriarchal gender relations are seen to be intersectional with economic and ethno-national power relations in perpetuating a tendency to armed conflict in human societies. The feminism generated in antiwar activism tends to be holistic, and understands gender in patriarchy as a relation of power underpinned by coercion and violence. The cultural features of militarization and war readily perceived by women positioned in or close to armed conflict, and their sense of war as systemic and as a continuum, make its gendered nature visible. There are implications in this perspective for antiwar movements. If gender relations are one of the root causes of war, a feminist programme of gender transformation is a necessary component of the pursuit of peace.

Keywords: gender relations, feminism, militarization, patriarchy, war

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization

Year: 2010

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