Women In Nuclear Non-Proliferation Deals – Effective Yet Underrepresented!

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

No doubt, overconfidence has always been labeled as the major cause of war by most of the historians and political scientists. And in the present era, nuclear war remains the most dangerous threat to maintaining peace in the world. The United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea are now nuclear-armed states, and Iran, Libya, and Syria have pursued nuclear activities at various times. Whenever there is a rise in tension between any two nations, nuclear war is always feared to happen. And the destruction they can bring, is impossible to measure, as far as the loss of human lives is concerned. But, research says if more women are involved in negotiations there will be less threat of war. Therefore, we focus on the need of women in nuclear non-proliferation policy roles.

A research by Dominic D.P Johnson and team analyses the effect of overconfidence in war-games. It provides experimental evidence of overconfidence on expectations, aggression, gender and testosterone. The important takeaways of the research are:

  • Mentally healthy people tend to show certain psychological biases that encourage optimism and are collectively known as ‘Positive Illusions’. Today, these positive illusions are contributing to costly conflicts and wars.
  • Testosterone is proposed to be a proximate mediator of positive illusions and it is therefore linked to the dominance role and challenging behaviour, particularly in men.
  • Till date, no other study has attempted to link testosterone with confidence within war-games and decision-making in hard times like wars.
  • Due to the negligible presence of women in the nuclear field, there is dominance of men and this increases the risk taking possibility. Therefore, negotiated agreements also don’t hold much importance and this increases the probability of war.

How Women Can Save Us From Apocalypse

The study shows that men are more likely to be overconfident than women. This means that men are more likely to indulge in attacking the enemy than women. The research also shows that women tend to analyse more, and the possibility of indulging in negotiated agreements is also more in case of women. So, in war like scenario, women will first seek out ways to resolve and not attack.

The research also indicates how if women are fully represented in the high-level policy roles, like bilateral nuclear deals, as well as global commitments, they would be much stronger with the participation of women. In fact during the cold war, women peace activists were instrumental in making negotiations for a partial nuclear test ban treaty a reality in 1963, according to the United Nations Office For Disarmament Affairs.

Under Representation Of Women In Military Affairs And Weapons

Globally, women form on an average only 8 percent of negotiators, 5 percent of signatories, and 2 percent of mediators in peace talks. Moreover, according to cfr.org, another study finds that women participation in drafting, the agreement is 35% more likely to last for at least 15 years.

According to the study Women And Weapons: Redressing The Gender Gap: An Indian Response,  women empowerment might affect disarmament and non-proliferation efforts to a greater extent. But women’s influence over nuclear policy is dismally low! The policy states, “ The natural differentiation between the sexes like perceiving man as the chief of the house has pervaded all the features of nuclear policy making.”  To confirm this, an example is that of  the Indian and Pakistani delegations to the 2013 Oslo and 2014 Nayarit conferences on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear detonations can be given which had no women representation.

It is also true that women are more peace-loving than men and hence including them in the international matters that can result in lesser number of wars, opens up the possibility of discussion and settlement through negotiations.

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Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.Tv