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A Brief History of International Relations

The World Made Easy

Kathleen Brush

The world does not need to be complex and confusing. It can be made simpler so that the business, political, social, and economic implications of global news briefs beaming across televisions and electronic devices can be easily grasped. Key to this is knowing that a five-hundred-year competition for global supremacy between the Chinese, European, Islamic, and Russian empires only ended in 1945. When it did, the world had 57 independent nations. After all empires were dissolved in 1991, there were 193, and each nation carried histories of empires in the form of conquest, religions followed, languages practiced, diversified populations, repressive rule, and histories of discrimination. A Brief History of International Relations: The World Made Easy explores this history of global conflict to contextualize and simplify the often perplexing relations between nations and empires.

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Chapter 12. Gender Discrimination: Aftermaths of Empire


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Aftermaths of Empire

Gender discrimination against women is not an Era-of-Empire aftermath; it existed long before 1453. Indeed, the world has forever been a collection of patriarchal societies. The “history of man” has been a history of women subordinated to men: wife to husband, sister to brother, nun to priest, male manager to female worker, male voter to female non-voter, etc. It is the history of men leading government, religion, the economy, and the family. However, the empires perpetuated discrimination against women.

With the spread of organized religion, the empires expanded the legitimacy of subordination and may have provided additional applications for it. Verse 4:34 in the Quran says: “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them.” In the Bible (Colossians 3:18) it is written: “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

Late into the Era of Empire gender discrimination got its first break. In the 19th century, some western nations1 were advancing industrialization, and democratic forms of government separated church from state. Separating church wasn’t much of...

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