By Alexandra Dolce –

March 2024

The Feminist Theory of International relations examines global politics through the “experiences, ideas and activities of women.”  This theory emphasizes the gender duality that exists in international relations and affirms that “both actors are essential in global phenomena.”  The major tenets of this theory are; gender, patriarchy, voice and representation, peacebuilding, and security.

The Feminist theory of International Relations is relevant to space law and ethics because of the strategic maneuvers that are currently taking place in outer space.  Major powers – the US, China, Russia, Japan, the EU – are, in addition to weaponizing outer space, staking claims of ownership, and exalting dominance over the Moon and other celestial bodies, similar to the Cold War era.  A “business as usual” mentality concerning security in outer space breeds business as usual: “patriarchal, militarized systems that do not prioritize peace” or inclusion; all at the cost of overlooking the experiences and perspectives of women and other marginalized groups and nations.

Therefore, the question here is how do we demolish the current patriarchal systems of world politics that are disgorging into outer space engagement? Bringing more women to the table is vital, but the current frameworks that have normalized military conflict, violence, and patriarchy have to be dismantled before we can move forward. Marginalized voices should not only be heard, but the impact of their engagement should also spur change.  Arguably, a  feminist security paradigm, associated with peace, day-to-day security and equitable resource distribution could dispose of the  hegemonic masculinity standard. However  the narrative has to first be re-written. The current “powers that be”  have to be taught to normalize human security, inclusion and participation, and transformative change and must also learn to react within a  purview outside of threats, militarization, and violence. A paradigm shift  cannot happen without voices being heard, grievance resolved, and a plan of action initiated to achieve change. As with all change, it is a process, but it can be done and women in key positions should start doing it and encouraging it TODAY.

A change is needed in the  current political landscape in outer space. A metamorphic change from threats, militarization and violence to representation, peacebuilding and security is sorely needed. However, real change comes from within and can only happen when those in power first recognize and accept their wrongdoings and then commit to a shift, not through words or lofty ideas, but through steadfast engagement that leads to action.

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