The Gendered Peace Premium

Christopher W. Blair, Joshua A. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The adage that "only Nixon could go to China"suggests hawkish leaders face fewer domestic political barriers to pursuing conciliation with foreign adversaries. Since hawks are viewed as less ideologically predisposed to peace than doves, their efforts at rapprochement are more likely to be perceived as in the national interest. We explore how this conventional wisdom intersects with prominent gender stereotypes about women's role in national security. Do gender stereotypes that women are inclined toward peace make it more difficult for women leaders to pursue conciliation? In a series of survey experiments, we find evidence of a gendered peace premium - a penalty women leaders face for pursuing peace. When women leaders seek rapprochement with foreign adversaries, they are perceived as acting "according to type."Consequently, women's conciliatory policy proposals are viewed as less likely to be in the national interest than identical policies pursued by male leaders. Partisanship dynamics significantly moderate the gendered peace premium, and policy success can attenuate women leaders' disadvantage. While this discriminatory dynamic does not make it impossible for women leaders to seek and achieve peace, it does make it more difficult and politically costly than some perspectives assume.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbersqad090
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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