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Countries see better overall development when women's rights are a priority

Researchers say the finding is true regardless of a country’s economic status

Photo (c) Tassii - Getty Images
A new study has brought to light an interesting development regarding women’s rights. 

When leaders make women’s rights a priority in their countries, they see a wide range of benefits, which is not true of countries that aren’t prioritizing women’s rights. 

“Since the promotion and protection of women’s rights play a fundamental role for progress for states as they unite health, human rights and development, nations that have the ability to promote [women’s social and economic rights]...are missing a crucial component in positive health outcomes,” the authors wrote. 

Spotting the differences

The researchers analyzed data from 158 countries to see how putting a spotlight on women’s rights affected issues like healthcare improvements, economic benefits, and sustainability. 

Each nation was divided into a group based on its support of women, ranging from high support to medium and poor support. The majority of countries (63) fell into the “poor” category, while 44 were high supporters and 51 were moderate supporters. 

With that information, the researchers were able to see that granting women social and political rights had an overwhelmingly positive impact, even in statistically lower-income countries. That same impact wasn’t seen in countries with low support of women’s rights. 

Healthcare was one area where women’s rights made a massive improvement, as the countries that fell into the “high” support category were more likely to have better life expectancies. There was also better access to vaccines and more information available about reproductive health and disease prevention.

“The results confirm that even with a lack of resources, if a country has a strong human rights structure, the health outcomes are better,” the researchers write. “Today, the value of human rights has often been questioned from an economic standpoint; however, our data find that rather than limit progress, human rights, and [women’s economic and social rights] in particular, can only benefit them.”

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