Feminist perspectives on international relations have in common with the critical theorists a rejection of the dominance in the subject of the realist and reformists. The general or main reason for their argument is that in international relations, an in most political and economic activity, women are disadvantaged. Although women own about 1% of the world?s property and take home 10% of income, they perform 60% of working hours and provide 80% of refugees. This demonstrates gender inequalities, the socially learned behavior and expectations that distinguish between masculinity and femininity.
The author Sandra Whitworth introduces the feminist theory and examines gender and international organizations. The way that people organize themselves within international institutions reflects gender relations. The triad of institutions, ideas and material conditions help to locate assumptions about gender within international organizations. These are used by Whitworth to examine the understanding of gender in an INGO, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The IPPF showed little importance of the gender nature of reproductions and ignored the importance of birth control for women?s reproductive freedom. Later, in the 1990?s their policy became more radical with links being made between birth control and women?s sexuality. The ILO concerned itself with women as workers, considering that they needed special attention. This reinforced the view that male worker was the norm, with women workers not deserving the same rights and conditions.
Later, however, the ILO has reflected views that proclaim women?s equality in the workforce as well as in society more widely. Whitworth has used an examination of two international organizations to demonstrate a point about international relations, indeed social relations. The conclusion of this analysis of gender shows how these relationships and definitions of what is to be a woman or a man are organized, and historically have been structured to disadvantage women. The point is about power and its use, the dominance of men over women.