Why are women less democratic than men? Evidence from Sub-Saharan African countries

Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Maty Konte


A substantial literature has examined the determinants of support for democracy and although existing work has found a gender gap in democratic attitudes, there have been no attempts to explain it. In this paper we try to understand why females are less supportive of democracy than males in a number of countries. Using data for 20 Sub-Saharan African countries, we test whether the gap is due to individual differences in policy priorities or to country-wide characteristics. We find that controlling for individual policy priorities does not offset the gender gap, but those women who are interested in politics are more democratic than men. Furthermore, our results indicate that the gap disappears in countries with high levels of human development and political rights.

JEL Classification: D01, J16, O38, O55

Keywords: Support for democracy, gender gap, policy priorities, institutions

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