International Feminist Journal of Politics
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Who was Margaret van Kleffens and why should we care? On gender blindness in diplomatic history

If you are interested in the role of women or gender in international relations, you should have no trouble finding a recent book on the topic. But what if your interest is simply the history of international relations? Pick up a recent account of the Cold War or the biography of a famous diplomat and chances are you will not find a single reference to the role of gender.
In spite of much evidence to the contrary, many diplomatic historians still seem to believe that if they are dealing with the political history of international relations, gender is irrelevant. True, many feminist scholars focus on women’s historical exclusion from politics (and their fight for inclusion), which – viewed superficially – might seem like support for that stance. If the political arena excluded women, there are simply no women to consider when writing political history, right?

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