Report | 2021


This study explores the relationship between gender inequality and violent conflict at a societal level. The results reveal that narrowing of gender gaps in education, employment, financial inclusion, and political participation, as well as reduced rates of adolescent fertility and intimate partner violence, are significantly associated with lower levels of organized violence. This suggests that advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls not only supports fundamental human rights but builds a solid foundation for a more peaceful world.

This study updates and deepens existing research on several fronts. Building on the approach laid out in our Women, Peace, and Security Index, we propose a model that connects three dimensions of gender inequality—the lack of inclusion, justice and security for women—with the intensity of conflict. We develop gender inequality measures for each dimension as proxies of socially constructed gender roles and associated power differentials, taking advantage of improvements in the availability of global data over the past decade. We examine the years 2000–2014, with a measure of organized violence as the outcome variable, against our set of gender inequality measures. Our investigation calculates and compares estimates obtained from fixed as well as random effects models.

Unlike some other factors associated with conflict, such as conflict history or mountainous terrain, we know that effectively addressing gender inequality is feasible with deliberate and sustained policy action.

This report was made possible with generous support from the Government of Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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