Democracy and gender inequality

The original article is here. The Economic Intelligence Unit calculated the relationship between democracy level of a country and gender inequality index.

Here I attach the graph for clearer illustration.

Looking at the regression line, one might rush to conclude that women enjoy more equality in more democratic countries. This is fallacious. First, the regression is only good for in-sample observations, i.e. the regression states an observable trend in this particular dataset. This is not good enough for out-of-sample prediction. Second, there are countries like India and Papua New Guinea which are highly democratic but are very unequal.

Another interesting pattern is that countries from the same area tend to cluster. This is particularly true for Western European countries. This is understandable since their societies and economic systems are organized in similar ways. Asian countries differ greatly, though.

Information about the gender inequality index is given by the United Nations (detailed information here):

The Gender Inequality Index is a composite measure reflecting inequality in achievements between women and men in three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market. It varies between zero (when women and men fare equally) and one (when men or women fare poorly
compared to the other in all dimensions). The health dimension is measured by two indicators: maternal mortality ratio and the adolescent fertility rate. The empowerment dimension is also measured by two indicators: the share of parliamentary seats held by each sex and by secondary and higher education attainment levels. The labour dimension is measured by women’s participation in the work force. The Gender Inequality Index is designed to reveal the extent to which national human development achievements are eroded by gender inequality, and to provide empirical foundations for policy analysis and advocacy efforts.

I think the graph is better used for general knowledge. The measurement of democracy level is highly controversial. Further, democracy depends on many other social and economic factors.


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