Academic journal article The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs

Women and Security

Academic journal article The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs

Women and Security

Article excerpt

Over the years, I have met many self-described experts who give lip service to a broader concept of security, but who are really not interested unless guns or bombs are involved. These 'experts' conceive of security as a 'hard issue' while dismissing such challenges as maternal and child health, environmental protection, global health, and the empowerment of women as somehow 'soft.'

Balderdash.

There is most definitely a military component to security, but mili- tary threats often grow out of other forms of insecurity. To most people in most places, the perils that are most threatening are not clear and present dangers, but chronic absences-a lack of food and clean water, no access to health care, the loss of arable land, the denial of legal rights, and the inability to have their voices heard.

Through the decades and across the globe, women leaders have been held back, shoved aside, and beaten up. Some say that all of this is cultural and there is nothing to do about it-I say it is criminal and we each have an obligation to stop it.

Human security cannot be separated from human dignity, it cannot be sustained when human rights are denied, it cannot be broadened without development, and it cannot be made permanent except by the leadership of men as well as women. …

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