The Effect of Female Politicians

January 23, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

In the Indian State of West Bengal one third of the positions for leaders of village councils are randomly reserved for women. Researchers found that this had fascinating effects on girls and women in those regions:

  • In villages where there were no female leaders, parents were 45% less likely to want their daughters to graduate from school or continue their studies past a certain age in comparison to their aspirations for their sons. This gap was reduced by 25% in villages that did have female leaders.
  • Adolescent girls themselves were 32% less likely to want to continue their studies past a certain age in villages without female leaders. In villages that did have female leaders this gap was completely erased.
  • This difference in aspirations translates into concrete results: In villages without female leaders boys are 6% more likely to attend school and 4% more likely to be literate. There is no difference between boys and girls in villages with female leaders.
  • In villages with female leaders the gap between the difference in time that girls and boys have to spend doing chores shrinks by 18 minutes.
  • However, for some reason, all of these results are only seen in villages where women held positions of power for at least two governing cycles.

Source: MIT News