Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Linking Gender Equality and Good Governance: The Importance of Political Representation


Political Science Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Social and Behavioral Sciences


Cross-national studies have linked improvements in gender equality with advances in economic and democratic outcomes. Evidence indicates a connection between educational opportunities for women and improvements in economic development. Other studies demonstrate a link between greater gender equality and reduced propensity for involvement in military conflicts. We argue that the link between gender equality and good governance is bi-directional. Improvement in overall economic standing of a state contributes to greater gender equality just as reduced military spending allows the state to reallocate funds towards the social spending that impacts economic equality. In some states, improvements in gender equality do not translate into improved governance. In these cases, gains in gender equality do not result in improvements in indicators such as trust in governance or government accountability. In the US, educational and income gains for women have not translated into greater trust in government. Polls indicate that Americans trust the government less than in any time in history. Similarly, in Japan and South Korea, gains in gender equality have not translated into confidence in government. By contrast, gains in gender equality in many European states are correlated with growing electoral participation and confidence in government. Thus, gender equality and good governance are part of a virtuous cycle. A necessary condition linking gender equality and good governance is female political leadership. Without women in political office, government measures reflect the status quo, male-dominated policy environment.

Conference Name

European Conference on Politics and Gender

Conference Location

Uppsala, Sweden

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