Study Finds a Link Between Gender Equality in Employment and High Homicide Rates

A new study conducted by researchers at Baylor University comes to the conclusion that countries with a high degree of gender equality in employment also tend to have high rates of homicide.The study examined social and economic data from 146 countries around the world for 2009 to 2011. This included data on women’s percentage of the total workforce and the percentage of women in professional occupations. Researchers compared this data to homicide rates compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

corcoranKatie Corcoran, a new assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at West Virginia University who spent the last two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, said that “the finding does not mean that gender equality in employment increases homicide rates, but there is a correspondence. What remains uncertain is the ‘why’ behind this relationship, although prior research suggests it may be due to threatening male status.”

The study also found that homicide rates are very high in South America and sub-Saharan Africa, where there are many countries where women are not respected, according to the study. “Women being treated with more respect and dignity may be a reflection of fewer patriarchal beliefs condoning violence,” Dr. Corcoran said.

Dr. Corcoran is the co-author of Religious Hostility: A Global Assessment of Hatred and Terror (ISR Books, 2014). She holds a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and a Ph.D. in sociology, all from the University of Washington.

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