When Development Is Not Enough: Structural Change, Conflict and Gendered Insecurity

Author: Brysk, Alison; Mehta, Aashish

Description: Despite two decades of rapid global economic growth and social modernization, including increases in gender equity, levels of violence against women remain stubbornly high. Moving beyond conventional liberal views, a growing literature has identified how structural change and conflict associated with economic development can exacerbate women’s physical insecurity. We examine the relationship between development patterns and variation in the Physical Security of Women index—the best available cross-national indicator—to fill the gap in emerging ethnographic, case and survey-based accounts with systematic cross-country assessment. We find that, after controlling for standard explanatory variables, income inequality, urban crowding, corruption, political violence, autocracy and unequal representation of women in politics are associated with more physical insecurity, confirming the relevance of structural change and conflict approaches to development. Correcting the conventional wisdom, high national incomes are associated with greater security for women only if they are well distributed, and the relationship with female labour force participation weakens as women’s work rises. These relationships are robust to the year in which they are measured, and to the introduction of region and time fixed effects. We also demonstrate that gender-based violence has different correlates than generic insecurity.

Subject headings: Women; Violence; Economic development; Structural change; Conflict

Publication year: 2017

Journal or book title: Global Society

Volume: 31

Issue: 4

Pages: 441-459

Find the full text: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13600826.2016.1272046

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Serial number: 3953