Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside Women and States

Women and States
Norms and Hierarchies in International Society

$113.00 (C)

  • Date Published: July 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521768856

$ 113.00 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Momentous changes in the relation between women and the state have advanced women’s status around the globe. Women were barred from public affairs a century ago, yet almost every state now recognizes equal voting rights and exhibits a national policy bureau for the advancement of women. Sex quotas for national legislatures are increasingly common. Ann E. Towns explains these changes by providing a novel account of how norms work in international society. She argues that norms don’t just provide standards for states, they rank them, providing comparative judgments which place states in hierarchical social orders. This focus on the link between norms and ranking hierarchies helps to account better for how a new policy, such as equality for women in public life, is spread around the world. Women and States thus offers a new view of the relationship between women and the state, and of the influence of norms in international politics.

    • Studies a phenomenon which few scholars have analysed: the global transformation of women's place in public life over the last 100 years
    • Explains this world-wide change through a new account of how norms work in international politics
    • Will appeal to gender/women's studies scholars, as well as international relations students
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    “In this outstanding book Ann Towns provides a definitive account of generally under-acknowledged sea changes in the incorporation of women in the state. Especially noteworthy is Towns’ compelling demonstration of the productive power of international norms. This will be required reading for constructivists, critical scholars of hierarchy in international society, and all concerned with women and politics/governance.”
    Raymond Duvall, Professor and Chair, Political Science, University of Minnesota

    “In one century, civilized states excluded women; in the next, they included them. Ann Towns delivers a cutting-edge empirical analysis of how gendering has led to a hierarchy of states.”
    Professor Iver B. Neumann, Director of Research, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

    "This new work by Ann Towns is an intelligent and timely addition not only to the field of International Relations but also to interdisciplinary scholarship that is interested in the relationships between the status of women, state behavior, and approaches to global governance…Towns has made a noteworthy contribution to interdisciplinary studies of international relations and enhanced our understanding of the interplay between women’s status, state behavior, and international relations. The study’s innovative theorization of international norms as social hierarchies distinguishes Women and States as a work that can bridge conceptual gaps between academics and practitioners. Researchers and teachers in the social sciences will appreciate the book’s introduction of women’s political identities as a site for making international norms and an underlying theme of global governance, as well as its convincing demonstration of the contentious interaction between norms and transnational relations." -Shirin Saeidi, Cambridge University, Ethics & International Affairs

    “Towns draws on feminist scholarship as a complement to the constructivist literature in IR, because it is feminist scholars who most explicitly recognize that states are gendered. Thus, her welcome contribution to the literature is found in the explication of feminist scholarship as related to the constructivist IR scholarship to understand norms ... As Towns astutely and convincingly demonstrates, it is important for IR scholars to recognize that norms and social hierarchy are connected and, particularly important, that these are linked to the status of women.” - Kristen P. Williams, Clark University, International Studies Review

    “In this fiercely original book, Ann E. Towns offers a novel understanding of change in international politics... Women and States is an excellent contribution to what is now already a third generation of constructivist theory…. She fundamentally rethinks the emergence, diffusion and, most important, the role of norms in shaping international change. The book will be required reading for all scholars interested in the power of norms in international politics.” -Jelena Subotic, Georgia State University, Journal of Politics

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521768856
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Constructivism and worldwide changes in state policy
    3. A complex society of norms and social hierarchies
    4. Excluding women in the society of civilized states
    5. Women's suffrage and the standards of civilization
    6. National women's policy bureaus and the standards of development
    7. Legislature sex quotas and cultural rank
    8. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Ann E. Towns, University of Delaware
    Ann E. Towns is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. Her research centers on gender in global governance and international society, with a focus on the status of women as a standard of rank in international politics.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.