“There cannot be peace between nations until there is peace between men and women.”
Dr. Valerie Hudson shared this and many other compelling statements about the importance of good gender relations for global security during her visit to BYU campus on Thursday, October 15.
Hudson is the author of several books including The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy and Sex & World Peace, both of which she highlighted in her remarks.
Dr. Hudson also spoke about WomanStats, the largest collection of data about the status of women around the world. It provides over 170,000 different data points for 175 nations with populations over 200,000. The project began at BYU and has expanded to partner with eight additional universities.
“I always thought that it was so divinely fitting that it was at Brigham Young University that the largest database in existence on the situation of women in the world was created,” Hudson said. “I always thought that was something BYU could be proud of and brag about, that it was at the forefront of this kind of data initiative about women in the world.” Though project employees are not all female, it provides female coders an excellent outlet to expand their skills and contribute to a historic data initiative.
While her professional career has broadened Hudson’s focus to the global status of women, she encouraged attendees to do simple things every day that would improve gender relations. About potential uncomfortable remarks or quips, Hudson counseled, “there are some jokes you should just never laugh at.” She called the audience to action by adding that Latter-day Saints in attendance should evaluate their perceptions of gender roles and strip away cultural practices that cloud truths about eternal family dynamics,
“Just saying, ‘Yes, we’re for women’s empowerment,’ doesn’t lead to the change we need in the world,” she challenged.
Hudson will continue to be an advocate for women around the world, firm in the conviction that much can and should be done to improve the status of women everywhere. “The roots of many things that we value such as democracy, human rights, are to be found in the societal relations between men and women, the two halves of humankind.”
As a mother of eight children and a leader in her field, Dr. Valerie Hudson will tell anyone who asks that it is possible to have it all, one must simply sacrifice perfection.
The event was sponsored by The BYU Women’s Studies Honor Society, BYUPAS Women in Politics, and Students for International Development, and was well attended.