Why is violence largely a male pastime?

For International Women's Day

Women and peace - a combination that should not be underestimated


Today we celebrate United Nations Day for Women's Rights and World Peace. Who would still have the combination in mind? Because mostly we talk about International Women's Day. The combination of women and peace is obviously not accidental. Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, writes in his book Violence: “Through the process of feminization, cultures are increasingly respecting the interests and values ​​of women. Since violence is essentially a male pastime, cultures that give women more power tend to move away from the macho glorification of violence and are less likely to produce dangerous subcultures from uprooted young men. " P. 18)


Pinker's radical attribution does not serve to break down stereotypes between men and women, which we are already working on in modern Western countries, but historically it harbors an interesting theory: According to Pinker, women took over to an extent that is disproportionate to Their influence in other political institutions of the respective time, the leadership role in pacifist and humanitarian movements, and the last decades, in which women and their interests gained an unprecedented influence in all areas of life, the decades in the wars between industrial countries have become increasingly unthinkable are. (P. 1016)


Just think of Bertha von Suttner, Austrian pacifist, peace researcher and writer, who was the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905. Several forms of feminization, according to Pinker - such as direct political influence, the erosion of masculine terms of honor, promoting marriages based on the desire of women, the right of girls to be born, and control of women over their own procreation - were important factors for the decline in violence. (P. 1022) Even if, against the background of the war in Syria and other armed conflicts as well as terrorism by the IS, we tend to have the feeling that violence is increasing, Pinker shows over the centuries that violence has decreased.


With this in mind, we wish organizations and political institutions equal participation of women and men at all levels in order to further promote peaceful coexistence.


Author: Dr. Nadja Tschirner, Managing Director Cross Consult GbR



Literature: Steven Pinker. Violence. A new history of mankind. Frankfurt. 2nd Edition. 2016