The First Political Order

How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide

Valerie M. Hudson, Donna Lee Bowen, and Perpetua Lynne Nielsen

Columbia University Press

The First Political Order

Pub Date: March 2020

ISBN: 9780231194662

616 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $40.00£34.00

Pub Date: March 2020

ISBN: 9780231550932

616 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $39.99£34.00

The First Political Order

How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide

Valerie M. Hudson, Donna Lee Bowen, and Perpetua Lynne Nielsen

Columbia University Press

Global history records an astonishing variety of forms of social organization. Yet almost universally, males subordinate females. How does the relationship between men and women shape the wider political order? The First Political Order is a groundbreaking demonstration that the persistent and systematic subordination of women underlies all other institutions, with wide-ranging implications for global security and development.

Incorporating research findings spanning a variety of social science disciplines and comprehensive empirical data detailing the status of women around the globe, the book shows that female subordination functions almost as a curse upon nations. A society’s choice to subjugate women has significant negative consequences: worse governance, worse conflict, worse stability, worse economic performance, worse food security, worse health, worse demographic problems, worse environmental protection, and worse social progress. Yet despite the pervasive power of social and political structures that subordinate women, history—and the data—reveal possibilities for progress. The First Political Order shows that when steps are taken to reduce the hold of inequitable laws, customs, and practices, outcomes for all improve. It offers a new paradigm for understanding insecurity, instability, autocracy, and violence, explaining what the international community can do now to promote more equitable relations between men and women and, thereby, security and peace. With comprehensive empirical evidence of the wide-ranging harm of subjugating women, it is an important book for security scholars, social scientists, policy makers, historians, and advocates for women worldwide.
The First Political Order offers the strongest possible proof that male control of reproduction—and the violence necessary to control women's bodies—is the first step in normalizing violence and hierarchy in every society. From now on, there will be no more separating questions of politics and peace from the treatment of the females. Those days are over. Thanks to Valerie Hudson and her team of global researchers, we have a long, practical, intimate way of diminishing violence and increasing democracy. Gloria Steinem
The First Political Order’s description of the pervasive damaging social consequences of institutionalized male dominance, based on a fascinating new dataset, makes devastating reading. The authors say that their findings should be foundational for any discussion about national or international security. Their argument is lucid, hugely important, and entirely convincing. Richard Wrangham, author of The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution
In The First Political Order, Hudson and her collaborators make the case that the subordination of women is irrefutably tied to the well-being of a nation. Skeptical? The hard data is here, drawn from an exhaustive survey of 176 countries in the WomanStats project. This is the definitive work that ends the debate about the consequences of gender inequality. The focus now must shift to how we address a global syndrome that threatens us all. Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan
The First Political Order is a magisterial tour de force that transforms our understanding of international relations. Hudson, Bowen, and Nielsen provide a comprehensive and meticulous examination of how the systematic subordination of women around the world affects every critical outcome in world politics, from governance and security to environmental, economic, and social development. In so doing, they demonstrate how personal decisions produce systemic political consequences. Rose McDermott, Brown University
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I: The First Political Order
1. The First Political Order Is the Sexual Political Order
2. The Oldest Security Provision Mechanism
3. Assessing the Patrilineal/Fraternal Syndrome Today
Part II: The Effects of the First Political Order
4. The Effects of the Syndrome, Part One: Governance and National Security
5. The Tremors Caused by Obstructed Marriage Markets: A Closer Look
6. The Effects of the Syndrome, Part Two: Human, Economic, and Environmental Security
7. The Effects by the Numbers: The Syndrome and Measures of National Outcomes
Part III: Change
8. Change: Historical Successes and Failures
9. Conclusion: Contemporary Applications
Appendix I: Syndrome Scores for 176 Countries
Appendix II: Colonial Heritage Status Scores
Appendix III: Testing the Effects: Methods and Extended Results
Appendix IV: Dichotomization Cutpoints for Logistic Regression Analysis
Appendix V: High-Syndrome-Encoding Nations with Unexpectedly Good National Outcomes
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Valerie M. Hudson is a University Distinguished Professor and George H. W. Bush Chair in the Department of International Affairs of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where she directs the Program on Women, Peace, and Security. She is a coauthor of Sex and World Peace (Columbia, 2012) and The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy (Columbia, 2015), among others.

Donna Lee Bowen is professor emerita of political science and Middle East studies at Brigham Young University. Her publications include Everyday Life in the Muslim Middle East (third edition, 2014).

Perpetua Lynne Nielsen is associate teaching professor of statistics at Brigham Young University.