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Bush School Professor Highlights Link between Women's Rights and National Security

Dr. Valerie Hudson joined the faculty of the Bush School in 2012 as the George H. W. Bush Chair.  An expert on international security and foreign policy analysis, she received her PhD in political science at The Ohio State University.  Hudson is also known for her significant research on gender and issues of foreign policy and security.

Her latest book, published in June 2015, is entitled The Hillary Doctrine: How Sex Came to Matter in American Foreign Policy.  “The Hillary Doctrine looks at Secretary Clinton’s focus on gender policy and asks how it found a place on the “to do” list for future secretaries of state,” Hudson said. “I couldn’t see that anyone else was doing a reflection on this aspect of Clinton’s four years as secretary of state, and I felt the need to write about it.  The premise of the Hillary Doctrine is that the subjugation of women is a direct threat to the security of the United States,” Hudson said.  “This was not a cornerstone of American foreign policy until Clinton became secretary of state.”

Another aspect of Hudson’s current research focuses on the question of marriage law and state stability.  She believes that states are often run by extended clan networks, but there has been an oversight concerning women in many studies of political order.  A state’s government structure is deeply influenced by the structure of male-female relations, Hudson says; and societies that have changed marriage customs are the places where democracy has come into full flower, which highlights the relationship between human rights and democracy. Hudson has received funding from the US Department of Defense’s Minerva Initiative, as well as an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, to pursue research on this subject.  Her first findings will appear in the American Political Science Review later this year.

In conjunction with her writing and research, Hudson developed a nation-by-nation database on women ( that has triggered both academic and policy interest from national and international agencies.  Using this data, Hudson and her co-principal investigators from The WomanStats Project have published a wide variety of empirical work linking the security of women to the security of states. This research has appeared in a number of important journals, including International Security, the Journal of Peace Research, Political Psychology, and Politics and Gender.

Hudson teaches courses in foreign policy analysis, women and nations, and qualitative and quantitative methods for students on the national security and diplomacy track.

“I am legendary, or perhaps infamous, for assigning a lot of reading. When students finally realize that the readings are actually kind of a gift from me, it is just a delightful experience.  They realize that ‘she wanted me to know something I wouldn’t otherwise know,’ and it makes the whole course better.”

Hudson has won numerous awards, been published in dozens of news outlets, and serves on the editorial board of several academic journals.  In 2009, Foreign Policy named her one of the top 100 Most Influential Global Thinkers.  Her co-authored book, Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population, and the research it presents received major attention from the media, with coverage by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Post, BBC, CNN, and numerous other outlets.  The book also received two national book awards.