Why Women Can't Run the World: International Politics According to Francis Fukuyama


Tickner, J. Ann. 1999. “Why Women Can’t Run the World: International Politics According to Francis Fukuyama.” International Studies Review 1 (3): 3-11.

Author: J. Ann Tickner


This article critiques Francis Fukuyama's 'Women and the Evolution of World Politics.' Questioning feminists' commitment to social constructivism, Fukuyama uses a sociobiological argument to make the claim that a world run by women would be more peaceful than one ruled by men, whose aggressive instincts he compares to those of chimpanzees at Gombe. While he sees a possibility of this 'feminized world' being realized in the West, Fukuyama argues for keeping men in charge as protection against the non-Western world where aggressive men will continue to dominate politics. This article claims that, in spite of seemingly sympathetic attitudes toward feminist politics, Fukuyama's argument is deeply conservative and has the effect of not only keeping women out of politics, but also reinforcing recent arguments in IR about civilizational conflicts. His claims divert attention from more pressing feminist agendas, which include a better understanding of the disadvantaged political, economic, and social status of so many of the world's women. Rather than running the world, these disadvantages are closer to the realities of most women's lives. Preferred futures are ones in which both women and men work together to reduce unequal social structures, including hierarchical gender structures, which prevent the achievement of real security and social justice.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Governance, Political Participation

Year: 1999

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