Join Women In International Security (WIIS) on October 18th at 11 AM for a discussion with author and Senior WIIS Fellow Joan Johnson-Freese on her latest book, Women vs. Women: The Case for Cooperation.
Women vs. Women is a book about power dynamics and competition between women. It argues that women have been mired in competitive quicksand since the beginning of time, often beginning in earnest during adolescence, to their social, economic, and political detriment.
Exacerbating differences between women has become a strategy for maintaining male-dominated power structures, so – while competition will always exist and can at times be useful – self-inflicted and counterproductively imposed competition between women must end, as it dilutes their power and opportunities. From a security perspective, gender inequality is a destabilizing societal force. This book represents a confluence of ideas. First, the ill effects of gender inequality from the individual to the national and global level (and the fact that this is far from being universally recognized and addressed). Second, the negative influence of extremes, especially political and religious, on society at large and women in particular. Third, the societal stresses imposed on girls and the subsequent lifetime effects. While the challenges of careers, motherhood, and old age are all significant for women, the author contends that how they handle these challenges can be shaped by adolescent experiences.