Women and economic statecraft: The negative impact international economic sanctions visit on women


Though it is widely accepted that advancing women's rights is crucial to promoting more economic prosperity, good governance, and social equality, very few studies have analyzed the gender-specific effects of foreign policy tools. In this study, we focus on the impact that a frequently used coercive tool - international economic sanctions - has on women's well-being. Sanctions can have a devastating impact on both the target country's economic and political stability, and women often suffer significantly from the effects of such external shocks due to their vulnerable socioeconomic and political status. We thus argue that foreign economic pressures will reduce the level of respect for women's rights in the targeted countries. We use four different measures of women's economic, political, and social status to analyze the gender-specific consequences of economic coercion. Results from the analysis for the period 1971-2005 indicate that sanctions are likely to exacerbate women's rights. The data analysis also shows that the suggested negative impact of economic coercion on women's well-being is conditioned by the wealth of a targeted country; women in poor countries are hit the hardest by economic sanctions. © The Author(s) 2012.

Publication Title

European Journal of International Relations