Which Is More Important for Women, Capitalism or Democracy?

Publication Date: July 2008

Publisher: National Center for Policy Analysis (U.S.)

Author(s): Michael D. Stroup

Research Area: Human rights; Social conditions

Keywords: Women's Issues

Type: Brief


Capitalism and democracy are both known to improve the well-being of women. But which is more important? The social welfare of both men and women can be measured by health, education and employment, and the well-being of women in particular by gender-specific indicators, such as control of fertility. Poor countries generally rank lower than developed countries on all these social metrics, but they can implement public policies to improve conditions. Two major strategies have been tried: 1) market-oriented economic reforms and 2) democratic political reforms. The evidence suggests that institutional reforms that move an economy closer to capitalism have a greater positive influence on the well-being of women than political reforms that increase women's participation in decision-making.