World Policy Journal: Spring 2014

Sex & Sexuality

Sex is a primal instinct that guarantees the perpetuation of our families and the human race. It is the driving force behind beauty and tragedy, poetry and art, theater and film. Central to World Policy Journal’s perspective is the role played by gender and sexuality in shaping societies. Politics and business, families and communities, cultural, social, and deeply personal issues of gender equality and aspirations all present challenges and opportunities which we explore in the Spring issue of World Policy Journal.



The Big Question: Man vs. Woman

Sex and sexuality dictate the role of individuals in societies around the world. We asked our panel of global experts from India, Costa Rica, Vietnam, South Africa, Kenya, and Belgium how new perceptions of sex and sexuality impact cultural and economic development in their societies, and how they may shape future social and political progress.

Anatomy: The Making of Wadjda

Saudi Arabia’s premier female filmmaker, Haifaa Al-Mansour, details the oppressive yet hopeful landscape that serves as the backdrop of her latest film, Wadjda. Al-Mansour developed and filmed Wadjda in Saudi Arabia, a country where both filmmaking and female directors are considered taboo. Tracing the anatomy of her film, from conception through production and worldwide distribution, Al-Mansour takes us through the travails of her precocious female character striving for personal freedom in Riyadh—one who bears a strong resemblance to the woman behind the camera.

Gender Über Alles

Historically ostracized from the workplace, women are assuming roles as CEOs, board members, and higher-level management positions around the world. Deborah Steinborn and Uwe Jean Heuser examine the benefits of incorporating women’s thoughts and ideas into the business sector and argue for increased participation going forward.

Map Room: Violence Against Women

Worldwide, sexual violence affects nearly one in three women. World Policy Journal depicts the prevalence of sexual violence across the globe. Our Map Room takes a closer look at Europe, the continent with the lowest levels of violence, but where many countries are failing to meet basic legislative standards aimed at preventing attacks on women.


Trans[ition] in Iran

Iran performs more sex change operations than any other country except Thailand. The Islamic Republic treats homosexuality as a sin, even punishable by death, and transsexuality as a medical condition that can be cured through state-sanctioned surgery. Rochelle Terman explains the pressure on Iranian homosexuals to seek gender reassignment surgery and examines the negative consequences of this policy on achieving sexual equality for all.

Latin Women Take the Helm

There are more women in political office in Latin America than on any other continent. Yet the continent’s traditional patriarchal structure limits possibilities for further advances. Using Chile as her case study, Silvia Viñas explains how Latin America can look to Brazil and other successful examples to propel more women into the political sphere.

Timeline: Politicization of Sexuality (1969-2013)

World Policy Journal explores the LGBT movement’s victories and setbacks over the last five decades. While LGBT communities have achieved enormous legislative gains around the world, recent developments have challenged these advances in South Asia, Africa, and Russia.


Women in the New Global Order

Anne-Marie Slaughter details her perspectives on the intersection of gender and global policy, including the divergent opportunities and challenges for women and men. More balanced representation of the sexes in discussions of security and development will bring innovation and resolution to the world’s most divisive issues. President of the New America Foundation, former director of policy planning in the State Department, and former dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson’s School of Public and International Affairs, Slaughter has both studied and created public policy throughout her career.



Mexico: Vigilante Justice

Years of drug violence and loss of government legitimacy have inspired residents in growing stretches of Mexico to form lethal vigilante self-defense units that police towns and cities throughout the country. These little-known groups fill a critical need, but are sparking growing fears about the lack of oversight and responsibility. Reporter Judith Matloff and photographer Katie Orlinsky take us to southwest Mexico, where vigilante justice groups reign supreme.



South Africa: A Science Lesson

South Africa suffers from an ill-managed and poorly-equipped education system, where students perform far behind their African peers. Melanie Smuts examines why this developing nation fails in providing affordable and quality public education. Identifying striking examples of educational failures and successes in the post-apartheid state, she highlights the rise of low-cost privatized schools as hopeful alternatives to the broken system.

Palestine: Children Laboring

Laws and regulations exist to limit the use of child labor in Israel, yet the employment of underage children persists. With limited economic opportunity and schooling, young Palestinians turn to working the fields to help support their families. Matt Surrusco argues that legal loopholes and lack of Israeli commitment toward protecting Palestinian children support the very system that continues to exploits them.

Hunting Witches

The rise of Pentecostalism has led to an increase in witchcraft accusations against women and children in both the developed and developing world. Accused witches are held responsible for dark events in communities, where indictments become a justification for violence against these victims. Gary Foxcroft delves into the phenomenon of modern day witch hunting and argues that violence could be curbed if governments played a more active role in policing spiritual vigilantes.

Romania: Land for Sale

In Romania, land is increasingly owned by international speculators, especially Italians seeking land prices far below those in their native Italy. Romania is embracing the investment as it seeks to capitalize on growing food demand from such countries as China. But as Romania integrates further into the European Union, the rising prices of land and agricultural products has raised grave concerns. Maurizio Bongioanni examines the policies that have led to this land grab and explores what must be done to promote long-term growth and stability.

Vietnam’s Second Revolution

The under-29 population in Vietnam lives in a country that is vastly different from their parents’ nation. Elizabeth Pond highlights the explosive economic growth that has propelled a generation into a culturally and politically divergent lifestyle and mindset. Praising the West’s low-key foreign policy toward Vietnam, Pond observes that a hands-off approach will improve the relationship with its one-time foes and aid political and economic development in Vietnam.



Currency Wars

From Bitcoin to baht to cigarettes, World Policy Journal editor David A. Andelman examines the many alternative forms of currency and arrangements that arise when conventional monetary systems break down. Andelman discusses today’s challenges of transnational currencies, the intersection of monetary and political trouble, and the need for reforming systems of currency to meet the needs and identities of those who use them.