What evidence exists for links between women’s empowerment (or lack of) and outbreaks of violent conflict?
- A number of studies quantitatively find a strong correlation between
levels of gender inequality and conflict. They find that gender
inequality increases the likelihood that a state will have internal
conflict and international disputes.
- There is substantial evidence that traditional patriarchal gender
identities lead to militaristic and violent conflict approaches.
Women also can be viewed as ‘war bounty’ or as a target to attack
(or preserve) traditional culture.
- Indicators on gender norms which drive conflict might be more useful
for early warning (e.g. violent ideas of masculinity).
- In regards to the impact of political and civic empowerment (or lack
of) on conflict, evidence suggests: the more years a country has had
female suffrage for before an international dispute, the more likely
it is to resolve the dispute without using military violence;
countries with lower levels of women’s representation in parliament
are more likely to use military violence to settle international
disputes and are at higher risk of intrastate armed conflict.
- In regards to the impact of conflict on political and civic
empowerment, evidence suggests: before and during conflict women
often organise solidarity groups; women have been unable to maintain
gains made during conflict into political representation; violence
against ‘political’ women is common.
- In regards to the impact of economic empowerment (or lack of) on
outbreaks of conflict, evidence suggests: countries with higher
female participation in the labour force exhibit lower levels of
international violence; better gender equality can indirectly
increase a country’s stability through its impact on country
- In regards to the impact of conflict on economic empowerment,
evidence suggests: during conflict and immediately post-conflict,
women are likely to experience greater economic participation;
effects of conflict on women’s economic activity differs by age and
- In regards to the impact of social empowerment (or lack of) on
conflict, evidence suggests: countries with high levels of national
violence against women and girls have been more likely to experience
armed conflict; countries with high fertility rates are more likely
to use force in international disputes.
- In regards to the impact of conflict on social empowerment evidence
suggests: conflict increases female-headed households; levels of
gender based violence are higher during and after conflict.
Herbert, S. Links between women&#8217;s empowerment (or lack of) and outbreaks of violent conflict (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1170). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014) 15 pp.