TIR J, Bailey M. Conflict Management and Peace Science (2016).
Why is the economic status of women better in one country than another? We maintain that the answer lies in part in the extent of external threat to the homeland territory a country faces. Our project furthers the research showing that the undesirable effects of interstate territorial conflict extend to domestic politics of countries involved by arguing that the presence of territorial threat also negatively impacts the economic welfare of women. To respond to the threat, states tend to centralize their decision-making, invest more in the military, and decrease citizens’ liberties. Associated restrictions and emphases on more “masculine” values create an environment where women’s welfare takes a back seat to the ostensible priority of defending the homeland. Utilizing measures of women’s unemployment, our analyses over the 1981-2001 period demonstrate that higher levels of territorial threat decrease women’s economic welfare. This extends both the research into pernicious effects of territorial conflict and qualifies the finding from gender research that women’s economic situation typically improves during the times of war as women take over jobs from the male population that is at the front.