Democracy and human rights versus women's security: A contradiction?

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Notions of security are often presumed to be gender neutral, with women and men assumed to share the same political freedoms and human rights. However, assumptions of gender neutrality often mask bias. Do democracy and human rights positively relate to women's security? If a gender bias is inherent in these norms, then any conclusions drawn from studies using such measures will be strictly limited, and policy prescriptions designed to ensure security must move beyond policies focusing on promoting democracy and human rights as currently conceptualized. Using a cross-national, longitudinal analysis, this article systematically examines whether democracy and human rights reflect women's security, and concludes that neither democracy nor human rights as commonly measured ensure women's security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-428
Number of pages18
JournalSecurity Dialogue
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Democracy
  • Human rights
  • Security
  • Women's rights


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