Women’s Party

The political emancipation of women is making the world a better place.

Recent demonstrations by women against Donald Trump, which swept the entire world, were to some extent triggered by the fact that the new president of the United States is a sexist. But that observation alone was not enough to explain the essence of the vociferous protest and evaluate its consequences. Women’s political goals are not limited to fighting gender discrimination.

When a large group of men is brought together in one place by political slogans, it would never enter anyone’s mind to say that their aim is to defend their rights. No one at a political convention would say that the party’s goal is to improve the circumstances of its members in some way. Large political gatherings never represent special interest groups; they are always fighting for some higher ideals. When half a million women go out in the street with signs, it is absurd and insulting to believe they are doing this solely to defend their own interests.

If women collectively represent a political party rather than a special interest group — which is the reality — then how are their views different from the other party (men) in what is virtually a two-party system? Fortunately, there is a multitude of surveys, studies and even natural experiments to illustrate this difference.

Women Against Trump

The first and most obvious difference between the two parties is their stance on war. In all of the public opinion polls over the last 50 years, women were less likely to support military operations than men. This is equally true for the American invasions of Vietnam and Iraq and the Russian operation in Syria. All around the world, women prefer to spend their money on social benefits rather than defense. Economists Patricia Funk and Christina Gathmann examined how the structure of the Swiss budget has changed since women received the right to vote in 1971. This had almost no effect on the total amount of government expenses — down 7 percent — but significantly changed their structure. Women were much more likely to support expenses related to environmental protection and the development of transport infrastructure, but refused to finance the defense budget and farming subsidies.

Economist Esther Duflo and her co-authors compared Indian villages governed by women to those governed by men. It turned out that there were more social benefits and that their quality was equivalent or better in villages governed by women. Children in those villages had greater access to drinking water and were more likely to be vaccinated. Girls missed fewer school days and there was less corruption. Another important difference between the parties: The more women there were in positions of power, the less corrupt the system. This is true for both European countries’ parliaments and in villages of developing nations.

The wide spread of women’s voting rights is one of the main driving forces behind social progress in the post-war world. In the last 50 years, it wasn’t only the women’s rights situation that improved in the world. The world we live in is a much more pleasant place in general. And if women expand their political participation even further on account of Trump, the world will be a better place.

The author is the editor of “The Firm’s Secret.”

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