International Studies as a Discipline and Women’s Status Therein
Summary and Keywords
As a distinct discipline, international studies is relatively young, emerging in the United States only after World War II. The study of the status of women in international studies is also a fairly new field, appearing more recently than that in other fields in academia, including political science. In the United States, political science evolved through at least six distinct phases. The first two phases occurred during the American Revolution and the post-Civil War era, while the next four took place in the twentieth century, described by David Easton as the formal (legal), the traditional (informal or pre-behavioral), the behavioral, and the post-behavioral stages. It was during this period that the study of women in politics began. As political science began to solidify itself as a separate academic discipline at the beginning of the twentieth century, there was also an attempt to include international relations within its domain. Despite the increase in the number of women in international studies and the advances that women have made in publications and positions, the field remains dominated by men. In other words, it is still not an equitable place for women to work. In order to overcome many of these enduring barriers, there should be a greater willingness to investigate and publish more studies about the status of women and to take more proactive steps to resolve the issues that have stalled women’s progress.
Though the roots of political science in the United States are fairly extensive, reaching back to America’s founding, international studies as a distinct discipline is relatively young, emerging within the US only after World War II. Similarly, the study of the status of women in international studies is fairly new, appearing more recently than that in other fields in academia, including political science. Specifically, international studies seems to have been late to develop its own body of feminist research, to recognize the concerns of women, and to document the progress or lack thereof in women’s professional development. To a great extent, both scholarship on women and opportunities for women in international studies are linked to the evolution of international studies from its origins in political science, diplomatic history, international law, and economics. In particular, the development of international studies as an academic discipline in the US has been shaped by the changing nature of the study of politics. In the US, political science evolved through at least six distinct phases. These stages serve as the historical background of international studies, and they provide a context for examining the status of women in international studies.
During the American Revolution and the subsequent debates over the ratification of the Constitution, the founding fathers made frequent references to political science, the science of politics, and the science of government (Farr 1993:67). This science was to be instrumental in determining the powers of the different branches of government, and it drew its still relatively undefined methodologies from history and the natural sciences (Farr 1993:67). Political science retained this primary focus on the historical study of government and the state through its initial stage of development until 1880. As Naomi Lynn noted, “The term political science, as originally used, meant what would be called policy science” (1983:96). Within the process of moving political science toward a more structured discipline in the US, Francis Lieber has been referred to as the founder of a more systematic study of government due to the publication of his Manual of Political Ethics in 1838–9, and his Civil Liberty and Self Government in 1853 (Merriam 1993:141). In 1857, Lieber was appointed as a professor of history and political science, thus becoming the first professor of political science in the US (Farr and Seidelman 1993:10). After this point, even though political science retained its close identification with history, it began to develop a separate identity along with the other social sciences (Ross 1993:81). Particularly in the post-Civil War era, political science scholarship focused on the theme of nationalism and became identified as “the science of the state” (Farr and Seidelman 1993:16). In this pursuit, political science utilized the natural sciences as a model, and developed what Woodrow Wilson called the “historical, comparative method” as a means of understanding the American state (Farr and Seidelman 1993:16). Political science retained this focus on the state in its second phase of development (1880–1900). However, during this second period political science gradually gained the structure of a specific academic discipline. In 1880, the first school of and the first graduate program of political science were established at Columbia University by John W. Burgess. The scholars who established these early programs of political studies have been referred to as the first generation of political scientists, though their methodology was still mostly along the lines of comparative history (Ricci 1993:165).
During the twentieth century, political science evolved through its next four stages of development, described by David Easton as the formal (legal), the traditional (informal or pre-behavioral), the behavioral, and the post-behavioral (1993:292). During the first 20 years (1900–20), political scientists began to develop an identity that separated them from other disciplines, such as history, economics, and sociology (Ricci 1993:165). Easton refers to this as the legal phase, because of the general perspective that one could understand political institutions by examining the laws by which they were governed. The state was still seen as the primary focus, although international relations began to be included as well. For instance, in 1908, Charles Beard described the study of politics as being divided into state government, limits of government action, political parties, and international relations (1993:117).
A crucial event in the development of the discipline was the founding of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in 1903. Its goal was to separate politics from the existing American Historical Association and the American Economic Association, with which APSA remained affiliated (Gunnell 2006:481). APSA’s Constitution stated its purpose was “the encouragement of the scientific study of politics, public law, administration and diplomacy” (Willoughby 1993:61). To cover the whole field of political science, the Association created sections, including international law and diplomacy, comparative legislation, historical and comparative jurisprudence, constitutional law, administration, politics, and political theory (Willoughby 1993:62). It was also during this period that the study of women in politics began. The first-wave feminist movement had opened higher education to women, and a handful of women entered the newly established political science graduate programs. It was these women who began the systematic research on women in politics (Silverberg 1993:365).
During the next generation (1920–40), Easton’s traditional or pre-behavioral phase, the emphasis on science finally came to the fore (Ricci 1993:165). In the 1920s and 1930s, scholars widened the scope of political science by shifting the focus more toward informal institutions, including political parties and pressure groups. Political science also separated itself further from its historical traditions, and became more closely linked to quantitative methods (Ross 1993:82). In particular, Charles Merriam led the movement for a more systematic collection of data and promoted the behavioral approach (Ross 1993:100). Another trend was more ideological: some political scientists became closely tied to American reform liberalism (Seidelman 1993:311). In particular, they were interested in the study of democratic state building and in supporting the liberal democratic American state (Farr and Seidelman 1993:108). As a result, empirical research about American politics, and particularly the ways in which citizens might be involved in their polity, increased (Ricci 1993:166). This focus had a couple of major repercussions. During Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, a number of political scientists, including Merriam, served as presidential advisers, hoping to bring a higher degree of science to the general operations of government (Farr and Seidelman 1993:109). Also during this era of association of political scientists with centers of power (in the 1930s and 1940s), research on women in politics virtually disappeared (Silverberg 1993:365).
The scientific emphasis of the behavioral period, Easton’s third stage, became dominant in the World War II era; there was a growing focus on looking for patterns in human behavior, and an emphasis on greater rigor in the methods of data acquisition and data analysis. For some, behavioralism reflected a feeling of dissatisfaction with conventional philosophical, descriptive, and institutional approaches, and a belief that methods could be developed that would help to provide political science with empirical propositions that could be tested (Dahl 1993:255). For others, behavioralism was a protest against mainstream political science, which had tended to be more celebratory of America than critical (Ball 1993:219). The behavioral period also encompassed a number of changes within the discipline and among political scientists themselves. In particular, the number of political scientists grew significantly. Between 1946 and 1966, membership in the APSA more than tripled to 14,000 and these numbers also included a growing percentage of women (Farr and Seidelman 1993:201).
The critiques of behavioralism marked the emergence of the final stage, or the post-behavioral revolution, which flourished after 1970. Challenges to behavioralism were raised from a variety of perspectives. Some wanted to return political science to its focus on liberalism and democracy. Among more radical scholars, behavioralism was rejected for its attachment to the liberal status quo, and challenges were raised by groups such as the Caucus for a New Political Science (Farr and Seidelman 1993:285–6). Feminist theorists challenged both behavioralism and traditional political science, while additional complaints were raised by women and scholars of color concerning the social composition of the discipline itself. In essence, the post-behavioral movement expanded the scope of political science, yet increased division among its various components. “Older approaches and philosophies, once the subject of behavioral attack, were recast and reintroduced […]. [P]ost behavioralism has turned out to provide an intellectual ambience for a great deal of scholarly production […]. Scholars go their own ways, do their own things, or sit at their own separate tables” (Farr and Seidelman 1993:286). Mattei Dogan has described this process of increasing specialization within political science as one of fragmentation and hybridization (1996:98). The fragmentation results from increasing specialization within the discipline. Hybridization results when gaps appear in the specialized subfields among neighboring subdisciplines. “As a result the fragmentation of disciplines into specialized subfields in the last few decades has led to the development of hybrid specialties” (Dogan 1996:100). These trends in political science contributed to similar developments in international studies, leading to its development as a separate discipline.
International Relations/International Studies
Similarly to political science, international relations had its origins within history, and specifically diplomatic history. However, as political science began to solidify itself as a separate academic discipline at the beginning of the twentieth century, it also attempted to include international relations within its domain. Consequently, “Still, before the First World War, nearly all ideas about the global system were neatly filed away in a box for international law, diplomatic history, or the parent discipline of political thought itself” (Ray 1998:12).
Fred Halliday has argued that it was the crisis of World War I that precipitated the development of international relations as a distinct academic discipline. “This did not mean that ‘international relations,’ as reality or as a set of ideas, originated with the First World War, but rather that it was at that historical point that a particular kind of reflection upon it was institutionalized […]” (1996:318). In particular, Ken Booth dates the founding of the study of international politics to the establishment of the Woodrow Wilson chair at the University of Aberystwyth (Wales) in 1919 (1996:328). It was after this point that a number of scholars tried to study international politics in a more systematic fashion, bringing together knowledge of international relations from the various realms of politics, history, economics, demographics, and geography (Ray 1998:12). As a result of this more systematic investigation, the contending arguments of the idealists and realists moved toward becoming the dominant paradigms within international relations.
Similarly, within the US, international relations began to emerge as an academic field in the wake of World War I. Charles A. McClelland has argued that prior to that time most of our knowledge about international relations was derived as a by-product of direct experience and historical study concerning interactions with foreigners (1969:3–4). Subsequently, a number of scholars have characterized international relations as having evolved through three or four distinctive phases. “It is commonly said that the emphasis has shifted successively from diplomatic history in the early decades of the century, to current events combined with international law and organization in the interwar period, to international politics in the 1940s and 50s” (Platig 1969:6).
Kenneth Thompson’s description is similar, although he subdivided the second phase so that he saw the study of international relations as going through four general movements. During the first phase, the study of diplomatic history was prevalent, and historians, especially in Great Britain, strove for the most complete explanation of a specific historical event. During the interwar period, two distinct trends were visible. One saw the purpose of international affairs as explaining and interpreting current events, with little reference to history, and all current events (no matter what the subject matter) were seen as equally important (Thompson 1952:436). In contrast, the third trend gave primary focus to international law and international organizations. The objective was to find out which way international society ought to be going in order to develop an ideal world (Thompson 1952:436). In this way, the scholar became more of a crusader or a reformer. Thompson saw the first international politics position at the University of Wales as symbolic of this phase of international studies. Though the first two occupants of the position were diplomatic historians, the goals of the program were to promote international cooperation and to propagate the ideas of the new international organization, the League of Nations (Thompson 1952:437). Proponents of this perspective expressed a sense of unbounded optimism concerning the roles to be played by international law and international organizations, creating a “dichotomy of good internationalism and bad nationalism” (Thompson 1952:439).
This optimism and the dominance of this paradigm waned in the face of the failure of the League of Nations, and an alternative viewpoint marked the next stage. “The alternative paradigm, which emphasizes that international relations are political relations, emerged in the context of the Sino-Japanese war, the invasion of Ethiopia, the rise of Hitler, and, of course, World War II” (Brody 1971:173). Thus the study of international politics replaced the study of international organizations. The goal was no longer to praise or condemn events, but to understand them. In this sense, the objective of international politics was to study international events in much in the same way that domestic politics were studied in political science. Under this formulation, the science of international politics had the essential task of explaining the causes and consequences of foreign-policy actions (Brody 1971:174). This focus on trying to understand international events led to several competing trends within the overarching realm of international analysis, and ultimately created a more specific distinction between international relations and international studies. On one hand, the attempt to utilize the type of behavioral research methods that had become popular within political science tended to reinforce international relations as a subfield of political science. “What this has done in practice has been to tie the study of international relations to political science as the primary unifying and integrating core. Without this core international relations had tended to ride off in all directions” (Thompson 1952:440).
In contrast, others felt that international relations could stand alone. Scholars increasingly tried to define international politics as a separate academic discipline and to differentiate it from history, current events, international law, and theories of political reform or idealism (Morgenthau 1973:16–17). For instance, this was the stated goal of Hans Morgenthau, whose 1948 book, Politics among Nations, was an attempt to understand the specific forces underlying international politics. His focus on the role of power and the importance of war and peace in international politics distinguished the field from the democratic theory focus of political science. With this development came several centers that established curricula dedicated to the specific study of international relations. Their goal was to create a more integrative approach to the field, which would include developing a point of focus or core of the field, creating an appropriate social science methodology, and deciding upon general principles of the field that would allow systematic inquiry (Thompson 1952:433). Objections to this approach were raised by scholars in the social sciences – anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology – who felt that there was nothing particularly distinctive about international relations, and who viewed international relations as a duplication of subject matter within their own fields (Thompson 1952:433).
The post-World War II era also experienced two competing trends: a movement toward greater specialization and specificity; and a trend of growing support for interdisciplinary studies. The trend toward specificity led to a disaggregation of comparative and international studies and the creation of five specific area organizations, formed around African, Slavic, Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern studies. This narrowing of focus was also apparent in the establishment of the American Society for International Law and the Society for International Development. The contrasting, more integrative, perspective led to the 1959 creation of the International Studies Association (ISA), which was founded with an explicitly interdisciplinary focus (Schneider and Howell 1991–2). Although the scope of the ISA was not specified, international studies was generally thought to include international subject matter from political science, history, economics, psychology, languages, geography, and international education. The ISA’s early membership totaled 200, though the number fell to 60 by 1963 (Teune 1982:3). Reportedly, there were no female initial members. At the end of the 1960s, a group of scholars formed a Committee on International Studies, which was tasked with defining or describing international studies. They began by examining the separate fields of international relations, foreign area studies, and comparative studies to identify the gaps and linkages among them. They then utilized the term “international studies” to describe a means of linking together the three separate approaches (Riggs 1971:vii). The exact scope of international studies was still undefined, and the two competing processes of fragmentation and integration continued, leading to a variety of configurations in which those who studied international issues could be affiliated: international relations programs within political science departments; separate programs of international relations, international politics, or international affairs; area studies programs; or interdisciplinary international studies programs. This dispersion has led to critiques about the relevance of international relations. In 1996, Halliday noted that despite the increased awareness of international matters within the social sciences, including economics, law, geography, history, and sociology, little attention was paid to the work of international relations specialists. “The result is that, in the broader intellectual culture of the times, IR remains largely an invisible discipline, its subject-matter considered as inherently atheoretical, and open to everyone to assert of it what they will” (1996:319). Similarly, in their 2002 Millennial Reflections on International Studies, Michael Brecher and Frank Harvey admitted that the debate was still inconclusive about the optimal path to knowledge about international studies (2002:1).
Somewhat ironically, toward the end of the twentieth century, the field of international studies grew larger partly due to changes that were taking place within political science. Although international relations was still seen as a subfield of political science, its importance within that discipline was declining. As the post-behavioral challenges in political science led to the proliferation of scholars at “separate tables,” the table for international scholars was being moved to the periphery while American politics held the center. For example, APSA’s study of the political science discipline completed in 1983 (Political Science: The State of the Discipline, edited by Ada W. Finifter) included five major subdivisions; political theory, American political processes, comparative political processes (with two articles), micro-political behavior, and international politics (with two articles). In the 1993 version of the same study, the representation of international politics had been reduced to only a chapter each on comparative politics, global political economy, and political conflict. Similarly, in their description of the discipline of political science in 1996, Robert Goodin and Hans-Dieter Klingemann noted that “Commentators on international relations say less nowadays than they would have done, only a few years ago […]” (1996:21). When APSA published the centennial issue of the American Political Science Review in 2006, only two of the 46 articles dealt with international themes. The editor of the Review, Lee Sigelman, described the changes in political science as a process by which the discipline was becoming broader, while the range of most political scientists was changing in the opposite direction in terms of greater specialization and specificity, leading political science to be shattered into a “multitude of methodological and substantive pieces” (2006:465, quoting David Easton).
With the shrinking of the share of political science occupied by international studies, many of the scholars who had formerly identified themselves as international relations scholars within political science began shifting their scholarship and professional activities toward international studies and the ISA in particular. This has increased the membership of the Association, although it may have reduced its interdisciplinary nature. At the same time, though, the number of scholars who are not academics has also increased (Henehan and Sarkees 2009).
History and Diplomatic History
The analogous organization to the APSA in history is the American Historical Association (AHA). It was founded in 1884, nearly 20 years before APSA and just when Columbia was establishing its political science school. The field of diplomatic history developed along paths that were similar to international relations and international studies. Within the US, the study of American foreign relations emerged after World War I, framed by the discussion of America’s proposed involvement in the League of Nations. In particular, the evolution of a more detailed focus on American diplomacy within the overarching field of American history can be seen in the creation of the Council on Foreign Relations (Dunne 1998:165). The Council, which had as its goal the improvement of American understanding of international affairs and American foreign policy, began publishing its annual Survey of American Foreign Relations in 1928. In the aftermath of World War II, William Appleman Williams of the “Wisconsin School of Diplomatic History” became one of American’s most prominent historians of foreign policy and one of its preeminent critics (Dunne 1998:176). The Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) was founded in 1967 to study and disseminate knowledge about American foreign relations. SHAFR has held joint annual meetings with the AHA and the Organization of American Historians since 1969 and its own meeting since 1975 (Leopold 1982:320).
The Status of Women in Political Science
Prior to 1899, only a handful of women earned doctoral degrees in the US (see a general discussion in Aisenberg and Harrington 1988). The number of doctorates earned by women remained relatively modest, reaching a peak in 1919–20 and 1929–30, when women earned over 15 percent of the awarded doctoral degrees. After that point, the number of doctoral degrees awarded increased substantially (from 2299 in 1929–30 to 9829 in 1959–60), although women’s representation declined to 10.5 percent. The greatest surge in women’s doctoral degrees occurred in the 1970s, when women’s share increased from 13.3 percent to 29.7 percent in 1979–80 (US Department of Education 1992: Table 156). Since then, the percentage of doctoral degrees earned by women has steadily increased to 48.9 percent in 2005–6 (US Department of Education 2008: Table 178). However, women’s experiences have not been uniform throughout the various academic disciplines. For instance, in 1987–8, women earned 60.6 percent of the doctorates in social work, 37.2 percent of the doctorates in history, 22 percent of the doctorates in political science, and 20.6 percent of the doctorates in international relations (US Department of Education 1992: Table 224). Women’s experiences within international studies have thus been impacted by the interdisciplinary nature of the field and the historic evolution of international studies and its related disciplines, political science and diplomatic history.
Both the academic discipline of political science and the practice of American politics were realms that were traditionally male-dominated and were generally inhospitable to women’s participation (see the discussion in Abramson 1975; McGlen and O’Connor 1998). John Burgess, the founder of the first US political science program, opposed women’s suffrage (Flammang 1997:4). At the time of APSA’s founding, the two most important political journals were Burgess’ Political Science Quarterly, begun in 1886, and the American Political Science Review, begun in 1906; neither paid much attention to women’s suffrage or women’s issues (Flammang 1997:7). Women did enter the newly established political science graduate programs, but their numbers remained quite small; “Between 1912 and 1969 women received only 6 to 9 percent of the doctorates awarded in political science” (Flammang 1997:12). Furthermore, as the percentage of women receiving doctoral degrees declined, so did research on women, which virtually disappeared in the 1930s and 1940s (Silverberg 1993:365).
Much of political science remained oblivious to the significance of the second wave of the women’s movement during the 1960s, and even the behavioralists generally ignored women’s activities when discussing political participation. In fact, one could say that it was an analytic failure of the field as a whole not to have predicted or noticed the emergence of a women’s movement within the profession (Mitchell 1990).The discipline was changed in 1968, when Martin Gruberg took women’s politics seriously enough to write Women in American Politics (see also Flammang 1997:7). Still, change came slowly to the APSA, which had only 5 percent women on the program for its meetings in the 1960s (Mitchell 1990).
The profession began to change as women began to enter political science graduate programs in larger numbers and women had discussions with each other about the status of women in the profession (Mitchell 1990). By the late 1960s, women began a reform movement within APSA, and as a result APSA created the Committee on the Status of Women in March 1969. In August of that year, a small group of women were involved in the founding of the Caucus for a New Political Science, which agitated for intellectual and organizational change within APSA and political science in general (Silverberg 1993:368). Women who were concerned about the status of women in the profession created the Women’s Caucus for Political Science in 1971 (Conover et al. 1990 and www.apsanet.org/∼wcps/index.html). The Caucus and its regional sections were responsible for many of the subsequent reports on the status of women (Committee on Assessing Progress in the Discipline 1990; Committee on the Status of Women 1992). Not only were women involved in changing the characteristics of those in the profession; they were instrumental in changing its subject matter as well. As the percentage of women receiving doctorates began to increase in the 1970s, so did the number of doctoral dissertations about women (Flammang 1997:12). This growing contingent of women contributed to the feminist and Marxist critiques of political science that characterized the post-behavioral period. In essence, two contrasting trends emerged. On one hand, while some feminists criticized the methodology of the behavioralists, others were using behavioralist methods to examine women’s political behavior and the status of women in the profession of political science.
A 1967 study of women in academe in general had found that women were at a distinctly disadvantaged position: they were paid lower salaries, given lower academic rank, assigned heavier teaching loads, employed disproportionately at the least prominent schools, and underrepresented at the most prestigious ones (Brown 1967:76). Subsequent studies found that the status of academic women remained virtually unchanged from then to 1983, and had in fact declined in some areas (Sandler 1979; Farley 1982; Spencer et al. 1982; Spencer and Bradford 1982; Theodore 1986; Chamberlain 1988; Affirmative Action in the 80s 1989). Such information led Carter and Carter (1981) to conclude that women had finally gotten a ticket to ride after the gravy train had left the station.
Within political science, the first detailed study of the status of women was undertaken in 1969 by the APSA Committee on the Status of Women, which found a similar pattern of discrimination, in that women were concentrated in the lower ranks of the profession and were underrepresented on political science faculties, especially at prestigious universities (Schuck 1969). Follow-up studies in the 1970s and 1980s found that the situation for women in political science had only slightly improved: political science remained predominantly a masculine profession, especially at the top, and women tended to be departmental “tokens” (Jaquette 1971; Burton 1979; Committee on Assessing Progress in the Discipline 1990). A 1988 study by Nancy McGlen and Meredith Reid Sarkees similarly found that women were more likely to be hired in part-time and non-tenure-track positions (McGlen and Sarkees 1988).
Although the numbers of women in political science were increasing, two studies found that women were experiencing a “chilly climate” in resistance from colleagues and students (Sandler 1986; Meyer and Baker 1991). In 1992, Sarkees and McGlen attempted to gauge the extent of the barriers facing women in political science. They concluded that political science remained more male-dominated than many other disciplines. In 1985–6, women earned 26 percent of the doctoral degrees in political science, compared to 52 percent in psychology and 33 percent in history (1992: Table 2). Similarly, in 1987, women represented only 14.5 percent of all college teaching faculty in political science, compared to 23 percent in the social sciences as a whole and 30 percent in the humanities (Sarkees and McGlen 1992: Table 3). Women were also underrepresented in all faculty ranks in political science when compared to academia as a whole, particularly at the rank of full professor, where women held only 6.1 percent of the positions in political science in 1986 (Sarkees and McGlen 1992: Table 4). Women were also more likely to be employed in temporary and non-tenure-track positions, were much less likely to be employed at the most prestigious institutions, and suffered a wage deficit compared to their male colleagues that was widening, especially at the rank of full professor (Sarkees and McGlen 1992: Tables 8 and 9; DePalma 1993; Sarkees and McGlen 1997).
Women’s employment difficulties also appeared in studies of political science job placements conducted by David Schultz (1991) and by APSA (Mann 1990; Brintnall 1992a; 1992b; 1993; Brintnall and Petty 1992; Brintnall pers. comm. 1995). In 1993, Silverberg concluded that women were still largely excluded from employment in the most prestigious graduate schools, more commonly taught part-time, and tended to be employed in small liberal arts colleges (1993:368). The employment downturn in academia in general in the early 1990s also impacted political science, and one of its by-products was a backlash against female academics and graduate students (Faludi 1991; McGlen and Sarkees 1995; 1999; Sarkees and McGlen 1995a; 1997).
However, there were some signs of improvement. From 1970 to 1999, only two presidents of APSA were female, but from 2000, the gender distribution has been more equitable as APSA has made a commitment to recruit women for the position (www.apsanet.org/imgtest/IID5.pdf; www.apsanet.org/content_2936.cfm). Yet, enduring concerns about women’s status also led APSA to sponsor a workshop in 2004 to assess women’s advancement in political science. The workshop committee found what they referred to as an “alarming stall” in women’s progress in political science. Women still tended to be disproportionately employed in part-time and non-tenure-track positions, and women’s careers proceeded through a “leaking pipeline” from which women were leaving political science at greater numbers than their male colleagues (APSA 2005:iii). The committee also noted that the study of the status of women was much less developed in political science than in other social science disciplines, such as economics (APSA 2005:1).
The Status of Women in International Studies
Attention to the status of women in international studies is far less developed than that in political science. Part of this is due to the shorter history of international studies as a discipline and of the ISA (founded in 1959) compared to the APSA (founded in 1903). Perhaps more importantly, international studies and especially international relations and international security have been seen as fields that are inhospitable to women. Both the study of international relations and the practice of foreign affairs were conceived of as the domains of men (among others, see Halliday 1988; Enloe 1990; Peterson 1992; Tickner 1992; McGlen and Sarkees 1993; Peterson and Runyan 1993; Beckman and D’Amico 1994; Zalewski and Parpart 1998). For instance, within political science, a smaller percentage of women were hired in international relations positions than in American politics positions (Sarkees and McGlen 1995). Similarly, the ISA has had only five female presidents in its 50-year history. For a discussion of the role of women in the official positions within the ISA, see the Compendium essay “Women and Academic Organizations in International Studies,” by Karen Erickson and Lisa Prügl.
As the numbers of women in international studies grew, women began to organize to deal with what they perceived as the “chilly climate” confronting them. In 1986, Women In International Security (WIIS) was founded primarily by academics led by (Professor) Catherine McArdle Kelleher. WIIS worked within the ISA to open up opportunities for women, including workshops with guidance on how to publish in academic journals, how to interview for jobs in academe as well as in other career paths, and how to achieve tenure. In 1990, WIIS established the Summer Symposium for Graduate Students, chaired by Gale Mattox, to encourage women in the field of national security broadly defined, including all areas of international study. Similarly, at the 1988 meeting of the ISA in St. Louis, women gathered to discuss women’s issues, including child care. These discussions ultimately led to the creation of the Women’s Caucus for International Studies (see the Compendium essay “Organizing Strategies for Advancing Women in International Studies,” by Mary Meyer McAleese and Susan Northcutt).
A major barrier to assessing the status of women in international studies has been the lack of accurate information. The ISA has not systematically collected basic demographic information on its membership; thus it has been impossible to know exactly how many members of the ISA are female. For many years, the ISA Biographical Membership Directory was the main source of information about the members. It included voluntarily submitted listings about each member, though most entries included only limited information (Sarkees 1994:13). One of the early attempts to try to gauge the status of women in international studies used the ISA directory as its source, and it found significant differences between the women and men (Sarkees 1994). Women were 23.2 percent of the ISA members and 25.0 percent of the members from the US. Of the entire membership, 55.4 percent claimed that their area of expertise was political science, with an additional 29.2 percent citing international relations. However, women disproportionately cited education, languages, area studies, sociology, and geology as their area of expertise (Sarkees 1994:12). Overall, the women tended to be younger, which was reflective of their more recent entry into the field. Of the ISA members who had positions in academe, women constituted 17.8 percent (compared to 19.6 percent within political science). Of all those with the rank of full professor, 93.2 percent were men and 6.8 percent were women (compared to 90.3 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively, in political science) (Sarkees 1994:17). Students made up 22.6 percent of the American ISA membership, and women had greater representation here (30.4 percent) (Sarkees 1994:21).
Although the representation of women in the ISA was growing in the 1990s, a number of members were concerned about reports of continuing resistance to the inclusion of women and to gender research. Under the leadership of ISA President Hayward Alker, the ISA Governing Council overcame significant resistance to create an ad hoc Committee on the Status of Women in 1992. The committee of five women (later renamed the Committee on Gender Research) developed a four-pronged study to systematically investigate the status and perceived situation of women in the ISA by examining women’s oral histories, by Christine Sylvester; the distribution of women in ISA positions, by Karen Erickson; women’s representation in ISA publications, by Mary Ann Tetreault; and by conducting a survey of ISA members concerning career paths and gendered experiences, by Marie Henehan and Meredith Reid Sarkees. Each of the studies highlighted different aspects of the barriers facing women in international studies. For instance, the survey, which was mailed to all ISA members, revealed that males were more likely to be full professors, while women disproportionately held non-tenure-track positions (Henehan and Sarkees 1994; Sarkees and Henehan 1994; 1996:2). Family responsibilities also significantly impacted women’s careers. Consequently, male ISA members were far more likely to be married, to have children, and to have more children than the women (Sarkees and Henehan 1996:6). Both female and male participants in the survey utilized the open-ended questions of the survey to discuss the impact of gender on their careers, with women frequently reporting instances in which they were actively discouraged from pursuing a career in international studies (Sarkees and Henehan 1998).
Findings from each of the four parts of the Gender Committee’s study were presented to the ISA Governing Council as a part of the overall Committee report (Sylvester 1996) and were presented at a number of ISA conference panels (Sarkees and Henehan 1994; 1996). Brief notices in ISA newsletters reported on some of the findings (Sarkees and Henehan 1997). However, the full reports have never been published, because ISA journal editors – by their own account – declined to send them out for review, explaining that such subjects would not be of interest to their readership. Even a cursory examination of the references to this entry will show that much of the work on the status of women in international studies has not been published.
However, interest in the status of women in the ISA among women has not waned. Under the leadership of Susan Northcutt and Mary Meyer, the Women’s Caucus for International Studies (WCIS) was founded in 1995 (26 years after those of the APSA and the AHA) and it was approved as an ISA section in 1996. For details concerning the impact of the Caucus, see the Compendium essay by Mary Meyer McAleese and Susan Northcutt on “Organizing Strategies for Advancing Women in International Studies.” The ISA Governing Council declined to make the ad hoc Committee on Gender Research into a standing committee, and despite appeals to give its mandate to the WCIS, the Governing Council divided the subject of women’s status between the Diversity Committee and the Committee on Professional Development, where the topic languished. In the absence of a standing committee to advocate for institutionalized data collection, there was little research on the status of women done, except by isolated individuals.
Yet evidence of disparities between women and men continued to emerge. At the annual ISA conferences and the regional meetings, discussions among women provided anecdotal evidence of recurring problems for women that contributed to a number of women leaving academe (Sarkees and McGlen 1995b; Sarkees 2006). Instead of finding that women’s issues had been resolved, younger women were experiencing gender-based difficulties. A group of younger women scholars in the ISA who were not involved in the WCIS found themselves involved in such exchanges and in 2001 created a distinct Women in Conflict Studies (WICS) listserv to provide a venue to discuss the professional problems that women were encountering. Some of these issues confronting women and teaching are addressed in more detail in the Compendium essay “Women Teaching International Studies: Identity, Interests, and Institutions,” by Kathleen Mahoney-Norris and Mary Hampton.
Reports of enduring issues prompted Henehan and Sarkees to conduct a follow-up survey of the ISA membership in 2006 under the sponsorship of the WCIS. Although the percentage of female ISA members had grown from about 24 percent to 31 percent, many of the disparities between women and men remained the same. Women were more likely to be employed part-time, and the percentage of all women who held the rank of full professor had barely changed (10.8 percent in 1995 to 11.0 percent in 2006) (Sarkees and Henehan 2007:7). Men were more likely to be tenured, to work in research institutions, and to be in positions with salaries in excess of $100,000 per year (Sarkees and Henehan 2007:10–11). In examining the academic workplace, both female and male respondents tended to agree that employment issues such as getting tenure, getting promoted, and the senior job market were more difficult for women (Henehan and Sarkees 2009:439). Family and work balance issues were also still more difficult for women, with women more frequently reporting that the demands of their career led them to limit the size of their family (Henehan and Sarkees 2009:439). Getting research about the status of women published is becoming slightly easier. Changes in the ISA journal, International Studies Perspectives, have brought a greater openness to research on women, and an article based on the 1995 and 2006 surveys was finally published in the November 2009 issue (Henehan and Sarkees 2009).
However, research on academic publishing has also revealed some of the professional barriers for women in international studies. A study of three international relations journals by Marijke Breuning, Joseph Bredehoft, and Eugene Walton (2005:458) found that “women continue to be underrepresented in international relations scholarship.” Among the journals, the first author of almost 80 percent of the published articles was male, with the ISA’s flagship journal, International Studies Quarterly, having the lowest proportion of female authors. Similarly, though research on the professional activities of women is not their major focus, each of the ISA journals also submits an annual report to the ISA Governing Council, which is supposed to discuss participation by women in their journals. According to their reports, in 2007 women were the single authors of only 8.6 percent of the articles published in International Studies Quarterly and 13 percent of the articles published in Foreign Policy Analysis, although the percentage increased to 25 percent when articles with at least one woman co-author were included. Similar findings appeared in a broader study of eight political science journals (Breuning and Sanders 2006). A complete discussion of this topic can be found in the Compendium essay “Women and Publishing in International Studies,” by Marijke Breuning.
Findings such as these persuaded Lisa Prügl and the WCIS to submit a proposal to the ISA to create a permanent standing Committee on the Status of Women. The proposal was approved at the 2007 Governing Council meeting, and the five members of the first Committee, chaired by Joyce Kaufman, were approved by the Council in 2008. The Committee’s first report included descriptions of committees on women within the APSA, the AHA, the American Sociological Association, the American Economics Association, and the Society for Historians of Foreign Relations – each of which had identified enduring problems that hindered women’s full professional participation (ISA Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession 2009). The Committee has begun planning an extensive research project to more completely examine the status of women in the ISA.
However, research on the status of women in international studies that focuses on members of professional organizations (such as the ISA) is not necessarily representative of the entire faculty in the realm of international studies. For instance, ISA members are more likely to be employed in research and doctoral institutions, which employed only 43.8 percent of the total faculty members in the US in 2003, while 56.2 percent of faculty were employed in comprehensive, liberal arts, and two-year institutions (US Department of Education 2008: Table 240). Research and doctoral institutions are also less likely to employ women, with women constituting 30.1 percent of faculty in public research institutions and 42.4 percent of faculty in private comprehensive colleges in 2003 (US Department of Education 2008: Table 242). Consequently, Daniel Maliniak, Amy Oakes, Susan Peterson, and Michael Tierney developed an alternative project to assess the status of women in international relations more broadly by distributing surveys to all faculty members who teach international relations courses. The Teaching, Research, and International Politics (TRIP) survey was distributed in 2004 and 2006. Even within this broader institutional spectrum, the surveys revealed that women were second-class citizens in the profession; less likely to teach at research institutions, less likely to be full professors, and less likely to publish in international relations journals (Maliniak et al. 2008). Importantly to the reliability and reproducibility of such projects, their findings paralleled very closely the studies in political science and international studies that had noted the progress that women have made, but also the problems that still confront them.
The Status of Women in History and Diplomatic History
A brief look at the fields of history and diplomatic history suggests that the timing of the overall women’s movement, the age of the organization, and characteristics of the field have all had an impact on the attention paid to women’s issues. Even though the AHA is an older organization, women in the AHA organized around women’s issues in the late 1960s, similar to APSA. At that time, the AHA was seen as having a “gentlemen’s protection society which had ruled the association until then, openly supporting practices of sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, and antisemitism” (Lemisch 1989, quoted in Chaudhuri and Perry 1994). The Coordinating Council on Women in the Historical Profession (CCWH) (www.theccwh.org/) was founded in 1969, and it was instrumental in persuading the AHA council to appointed an ad hoc Committee on the Status of Women (CSW). In 1970 the Committee produced a report on the status of women in the profession, which was successful in persuading AHA to approve the Committee on Women Historians as a standing committee in 1971. The 1970 report included an analysis of professional ranks at 30 history departments, which found a decline in the employment of women from 1959 to 1969. In particular, in 1959, 16 percent of the full professors were women, but by 1969, only one woman full professor remained (Rose et al. 1970: Part Three). A subsequent study in 2005 found that employment of women had rebounded, with women constituting 18 percent of the full professors in 1999: however, as the study noted, this figure still reflected the gender inequities in the profession (Lunbeck 2005:3).
More closely aligned with international studies is the historical subfield of diplomatic history, which, as described above, developed along a path that was similar to international studies, though the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) was founded in 1967, even more recently than the ISA (Unterberger 2007). Diplomatic history and international studies, along with their organizations, SHAFR and the ISA, have generally been dominated by men. SHAFR’s founding meeting was attended by 79 men and one woman. Ten years later, its membership numbers had risen to 700 men and 53 women (7 percent of the total). By 1990 there were 162 women members, or 12 percent of the total, and in 2008 women represented 19 percent of members, in comparison to women’s 30 percent of faculty positions in history in general (SHAFR Ad Hoc Committee on the Status of Women 2008:1–2). Research on the status of women in American diplomatic history has lagged behind political science and international studies. While women in ASPA and AHA formed ad hoc committees in the 1970s and achieved institutionalization in the 1980s, the ISA lagged two to three decades, and SHAFR is lagging nearly four. SHAFR does not yet have a standing committee on the status of women, although a group of concerned scholars did create an ad hoc committee in 2008. The first report by the committee focused upon publishing and panel participation, and noted that although the numbers of women publishing articles in SHAFR’s journal Diplomatic History was increasing, the average percentage of female authors (17.5 percent) was still lower than the percentage of women members of SHAFR.
In general, the field of international studies has been more male-dominated than other social sciences and humanities disciplines. The subject matter of international relations has long been characterized as being less accessible by women. International studies organizations, along with those in diplomatic history, emerged later than other fields and thus benefited less from the focus on the status of women that was part of the second wave of the women’s movement. Particularly when compared to political science, international studies has been slow and institutionally weak in documenting and addressing the status of women in the discipline. Recent research has shown both growth in the number of women in the field and the advances that women have made in publications and positions. However, the data that have gradually emerged also reveal a field that in many ways is still not an equitable place for women to work. Even though overt discrimination against women may have waned, women frequently report low morale as a result of situations that hinder women’s advancement, and many women are leaving academia for these reasons (Sarkees and Henehan 2007). Overcoming many of these enduring barriers will not only require a greater willingness to investigate and publish more studies about the status of women, but will also depend on a widespread willingness to take more proactive steps to resolve the issues that have stalled women’s progress.
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Unterberger, B.M. (2007) Present at the Creation: Reflections on the Organization and Growth of SHAFR. Diplomatic History 31 (3), 383–4.Find this resource:
US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (1992) Digest of Education Statistics 1991. Washington, DC: US Department of Education.Find this resource:
US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2008) Digest of Education Statistics 2007. Washington, DC: US Department of Education.Find this resource:
Willoughby, W.W. (1993) The American Political Science Association. In J. Farr and R. Seidelman (eds.) Discipline and History. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, pp. 59–62.Find this resource:
Zalewski, M., and Parpart, J. (eds.) (1998) The Man Question in International Relations. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Find this resource:
Links to Digital Materials
The APSA Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession can be found on the APSA website. Two reports by the committee are available (2001 and 2005): www.apsanet.org, accessed Nov. 2009.
The American Historical Association (AHA) website lists documents on gender issues in a format that makes the citations very easily accessible. Information on the Committee on Women Historians can be found at: www.historians.org/governance/cwh/ and www.historians.org/resources/women.cfm, both accessed Nov. 2009.
Assisting Politics, a blog on assistant professors of political science with some data: www.assistingpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/02/assisting-political-science-40.html, accessed Nov. 2009.
Coordinating Council on Women in the Historical Profession (CCWH) provides a concise list of achievements and activities: www.theccwh.org, accessed Nov. 2009.
Global Women’s Leadership in International Security (GWLIS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to research on women’s leadership. Some of the unpublished studies on the status of women are available here: www.gwlis.org, accessed Nov. 2009.
The National Council for Research on Women has a study on women in international and area studies at: www.ncrw.org/initiatives/wsais.htm, accessed Nov. 2009.
PS: Political Science and Politics is the best source of published work on the status of women in political science and also has some articles on international studies. Available on EBSCO, GALE, and www.journals.cambridge.org. A bibliography of articles on women in PS is at: www.ruf.rice.edu/∼wics/PSbibliography.pdf, accessed Nov. 2009.
The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) provides blogs and information about current foreign relations: www.shafr.org, accessed Nov. 2009.
The US Department of Education provides educational statistics, including data on faculty distributions and degrees awarded: www.nces.ed.gov, accessed Nov. 2009.
The Women’s Caucus for International Studies (WCIS), a section of the International Studies Association, which provides a welcoming space for all women in ISA. It awards the Susan S. Northcutt prize to recognize those who support women and the Misty Gerner award for professional development. Its website also provides some information on status of women research: www.isanet.org/wcis, accessed Nov. 2009.
The Women’s Caucus for Political Science has a website that describes the Caucus and makes the Caucus newsletters available: www.apsanet.org/∼wcps, accessed Nov. 2009.
Women in Conflict Studies (WICS) addresses challenges women face in teaching and doing research in the subfields related to war and conflict: www.ruf.rice.edu/∼wics, accessed Nov. 2009.
Women in International Security (WIIS), a nonprofit organization that brings together women academics and practitioners working in the area of international relations. WIIS is also conducting a study of women in a variety of international security positions: http:/wiis.georgetown.edu/, accessed Dec. 2009.