Letter from the Editors

By Galster, Collin; Park, Gloria | Harvard International Review, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Letter from the Editors


Galster, Collin, Park, Gloria, Harvard International Review


Half a century after the Feminist Revolution began challenging patriarchal structures across all aspects of society, the structures of the political arena obstinately hold out as frequent perpetuators of gender inequality. Ironically, although political equality was among the first spheres in which women demanded equal treatment, it has been among the last to realize such equality in practice. Our Spring 2010 Symposium, "Engendering Politics: Women in Power," marks the fiftieth anniversary of Srimavo Bandaranaike's election as the world's first female head of government in 1960 and reflects on the intractability of remaining hurdles are women in politics. After all, though a majority of voters in most democracies throughout the world are women, political representation the world over remains almost as rigidly patriarchal as it was when Bandranaike was first elected.

Opening the Symposium is an article by Margot Wallstrom, a Swedish Social Democratic politician and UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. In "A Womanly Virtue," she argues that female incorporation into policymaking and peacemaking processes is integral for the success of these policies, namely in the fields of climate change and security. Political scientist Kara Sanbonmatsu then presents her empirical findings in an article on the role of parties in incorporating women into politics. Sanbonmatsu hands the baton to Theresa May, a Conservative Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, who discusses the merits of gender representation in the context of British politics. Next, political scientist Richard Matland observes how institutional architecture shapes female political representation. Finally, Yuriko Koike, a member of the Japanese House and former Defense Minister, concludes the Symposium with her personal experience as a female politician in the male-dominated Japanese political arena.

Our Perspectives section features two thought-provoking pieces on microfinance and on Iran's prospective nuclear program, two topics of enduring significance in international relations.

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