Abstract: What do we know about women’s participation as decision-makers in international affairs? Is it fair to assume, as many observers do, that female elites will mirror the relatively pacifist preferences of women in the general public as well as the claims of progressive feminist movements? By focusing on women’s presence in senior national security positions in the American political executive, Women as Foreign Policy Leaders offers among the first systematic responses to these questions. It examines four high-profile appointees in the United States since 1980: Jeane Kirkpatrick during the Reagan years, Madeleine Albright in the Clinton era, Condoleezza Rice during the George W. Bush presidencies, and Hillary Rodham Clinton in the first Obama mandate.
Women as Foreign Policy Leaders documents the difference women made in a domain long dominated by men. In probing the actions taken by four appointees on matters of political conflict and gender equality, the book demonstrates female decision-makers made diverse and transformative contributions during a series of Republican and Democratic presidential administrations. The track records of these four women reveal not just a consistent willingness to pursue muscular, aggressive approaches to international relations, but also widely divergent views about feminism. Women as Foreign Policy Leaders shows how Kirkpatrick, Albright, Rice, and Clinton staked out their presence on the international scene and provided a crucial antidote to the silencing of women’s voices in global politics.