Gender Equality and Intrastate Armed Conflict

Authored by: Erik Melander

Categories: Statebuilding, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Human Development, National Security Forces and Armed Groups
Region: No Region
Year: 2005
Citation: Melander, Erik. "Gender Equality and Intrastate Armed Conflict." International Studies Quarterly 49, no. 4 (2005): 695-714.

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In this article, I examine to what extent gender equality is associated with lower levels of intrastate armed conflict. I use three measures of gender equality: (1) a dichotomous indicator of whether the highest leader of a state is a woman; (2) the percentage of women in parliament; and (3) the female-to-male higher education attainment ratio. I argue that the first two measures in particular capture the extent to which women hold positions that allow them to influence matters of war and peace within a state. I further argue that all three measures, but especially the last two, capture how women are valued relative to men in a society, that is, the relative degree of subordination of women. Whereas female state leadership has no statistically significant effect, more equal societies, measured either in terms of female representation in parliament or the ratio of female-to-male higher education attainment, are associated with lower levels of intrastate armed conflict. The pacifying impact of gender equality is not only statistically significant in the presence of a comprehensive set of controls but also is strong in substantive terms