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What has sex got to do with world peace?

By Gayatri Parameswaran Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 18:15
The more decently men treat their women, the more peaceful and democratic the country is likely to be, says US author Valerie Hudson. Her new book Sex and World Peace offers food for thought about attitudes towards women.

In the book, Hudson investigates the relationship between how peaceful or democratic a country is and how well its women are treated. Her guess was that the treatment of women in society has a lot to say about how peaceful or democratic their environment is.

Measuring safety

Her research drew data from WomenSTATS – the biggest database on women in the world. Based on the data collected, Hudson and her colleagues chalked out a scale of 0-4 to measure women’s safety in a country, 0 being the best score and 4, the worst. Shockingly, none of the countries scored 0.

Sure enough, Hudson and her colleagues found that the data backed their hypothesis. They discovered that how women are treated in society is a clear indicator of how peaceful or democratic a country is.

Data speaks

The United States scored 2 on the 0-4 scale on her report card, Hudson explains in an article. The surprisingly low figure was due to the relatively high level of domestic violence and rape in the country.

Relating this finding to the country’s foreign policy, Hudson points out that the US isn’t exactly renowned for staying out of wars – most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. These two countries in turn also score very low on Hudson’s scale, and they haven’t exactly had a peaceful history.

The team of researchers made similar findings for many south Asian countries, the Arab world as well as African states.

Brighter future

So, what’s the key to building a better world in the future? Ensuring women’s rights and equality, Hudson says: “A bird with one broken wing, or a species with one wounded sex, will never soar.”

So, if someone asks you, ‘How peaceful is your country?’ think about another related question: ‘How well are women treated in your country?’

Do you think that if women are treated with respect and decency your country is more likely to be peaceful and democratic? Tell us your thoughts here or on Facebook.

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