Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A decisive factor for democracy: Female empowerment

Date:
March 5, 2014
Source:
WZB Berlin Social Science Center / Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung
Summary:
Female empowerment is a core driver of democratization. Researchers have drawn this conclusion from an analysis of longitudinal data on 123 countries covering the period 1980 to 2005. Their findings suggest a reversed causality: Female educational attainment, women's labor force participation, and low fertility rates jointly pave the way for moving a country towards democracy.

Female empowerment is a core driver of democratization. Researchers from Western Australia and from the WZB Berlin Social Science Center draw this conclusion from an analysis of longitudinal data on 123 countries covering the period 1980 to 2005. Paula Wyndow, Jianghong Li, and Eugen Mattes question the widespread presumption that it is democratization that leads to improvements in women's lives. Their findings suggest a reversed causality: Female educational attainment, women's labour force participation, and low fertility rates jointly pave the way for moving a country towards democracy.

The researchers found that female empowerment was causally and strongly associated with democratic development over this period, independent of urbanization, economic growth, GDP, foreign aid and debt, and religion. Democracy is more likely to occur in nations with a longer history of educating girls. Nations that began the period with higher levels of female educational attainment, female labour force participation, and lower fertility rates made greater political gains than nations that made such improvements later in the period. Further, all three aspects of female empowerment needed to be strong for a country to develop democratically over this period.

There are a handful of countries that have not developed democratically in spite of high scores on the indicators of female empowerment. China is one of them. This can be explained, in part, by persistent violation against women's human rights (sex trafficking of women and children for prostitution and forced labour). Moreover, the drastic fertility decline over the last three decades was driven by the implementation of China's one child policy, which, on the contrary, has intensified son preference and elevated discrimination against girls and women in rural areas.

The researchers analyzed the Polity IV data measuring the level of democracy (executive recruitment, constraints on executive authority, and political competition between the state and its citizens) and World Bank data on female labour force participation and total fertility rates, and the Barro & Lee dataset on female educational attainment (aged over 15).

Despite a few anomalies, this study has highlighted that overall the transformation of women's lives made a significant contribution to democratic development at the end of the 20th century. As women's social and economic rights continue to improve, the authors expect to see more nations move towards democracy and existing democracies to strengthen and deepen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by WZB Berlin Social Science Center / Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paula Wyndow, Jianghong Li, Eugen Mattes. Female Empowerment as a Core Driver of Democratic Development: A Dynamic Panel Model from 1980 to 2005. World Development, 2013; 52: 34 DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2013.06.004

Cite This Page:

WZB Berlin Social Science Center / Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung. "A decisive factor for democracy: Female empowerment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305084751.htm>.
WZB Berlin Social Science Center / Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung. (2014, March 5). A decisive factor for democracy: Female empowerment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305084751.htm
WZB Berlin Social Science Center / Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung. "A decisive factor for democracy: Female empowerment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305084751.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins