The Intersectionality of Gender, Rights, and Privilege: A Comparative Analysis of 127 Countries

The Intersectionality of Gender, Rights, and Privilege: A Comparative Analysis of 127 Countries This study provides a macro-level comparison of the rights and privileges that women have around the world through the development of a multi-dimensional index of pro-woman states. This is important because states that score highly on the index provide models for decreasing gender inequalities and increasing human rights for women worldwide. Cross-national differences in female education, employment, reproductive freedom, and participation in state policy formation are explored. Pro-woman states have policies that are associated with higher levels of education, income, and satisfaction. An understanding of the rights and privileges provided in pro-woman states can be used to restructure the welfare state to encourage the empowerment of women and the development of more equal societies. Comparative Sociology Brill

The Intersectionality of Gender, Rights, and Privilege: A Comparative Analysis of 127 Countries

The Intersectionality of Gender, Rights, and Privilege: A Comparative Analysis of 127 Countries

Introduction An overlooked element of comparative stratification is the state structuring of female empowerment. There is wide variation across states in the provision of rights and opportunities for women. Some states, those that are considered to be pro-woman by Orloff (1993), focus on problems and issues concerning families, women, and children. In states that have highly expansive pro-woman policies, women have access to education, employment, and services such as daycare and family leave. Additionally, they have legal control over their reproductive systems and enjoy full rights of citizenship. These rights and benefits then make it possible for women to participate fully in society, to be true equals to men, to pursue careers which enable them to be financially self-sufficient, and to raise families with some level of state protection. However, Orloff (1993) and others note that there is heterogeneity across states in pro-woman policies. Women in relatively few countries around the world enjoy a full range of rights and privileges. It is therefore important to examine how different political systems shape social institutions and impact individual lives. A conceptual focus on pro-woman states is necessary because these states may help diminish traditional gender roles and gender stratification by providing structural opportunities for women (Wang 2004; Wernet, Elman, and Pendleton 2005). Comparative, country level data on multiple domains, such as female life expectancy, low fertility rates, education levels, the legal status of abortion, the percent of women in public life, income equity, and family leave policies, are gathered from the Population Reference Bureau (2005; 2011; 2013), the Global Gender Gap Report (2012), and the International Labor Organization (2010). This paper explores the differential access that people in 127 countries have to the aforementioned rights and privileges in order to identify which countries have policies that are the most...
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