Democracy, Gender Equality, and Security

Authored by: Ted Piccone

Categories: Human Rights, Peace Support Operations
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Human Development
Region: No Region
Year: 2017
Citation: Piccone, Ted. "Democracy, Gender Equality, and Security." Brookings Institute. September 2017.

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Executive Summary

A detailed survey of the existing empirical literature reveals a robust but not always straightforward correlation between the strength of democracy and gender equality and gender security. Research concerning this relationship is relatively new and critically important for democracies of all stripes to consider given the strong evidence demonstrating the positive societal effects of gender equality.

Overall, research shows that democracy and gender equality form a mutually reinforcing relationship in which higher levels of liberal democracy are a necessary but not sufficient condition for higher levels of gender equality and physical security of women. In addition, higher levels of gender equality are strongly correlated with a nation’s relative state of peace, a healthier domestic security environment, and lower levels of aggression toward other states. Strategies to strengthen democracy and human rights, therefore, should emphasize female empowerment, accountability for attacks against women and girls, and closing the political and economic gender gap. Similarly, efforts aimed at achieving gender equality should emphasize more inclusive societies, including attention to such factors as race, age, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. The international community should work collaboratively with civil society and the private sector to prioritize policies designed to mainstream gender equality across the board.