Women's Status and World-System Position: An Exploratory Analysis

  • Richard York University of Oregon
  • Christina Ergas University of Oregon


Our aim here is to strengthen the links between the world-systems perspective and research ongender inequality. Grounding our analysis in theories assessing the connections between genderrelationships and world-system processes, we empirically explore (]) the extent to whichwomen's status in nations overlaps with the world-system position of those nations and (2) theinfluence of women's status within nations on a variety of national characteristics. We find thatwomen's status has a moderately strong association with world-system position, which suggeststhat macro-comparative research may confound the respective effects on a variety of socialcharacteristics of women's status and world-system position if indicators of both factors are notincluded in analyses. We also find that, controlling for world-system position, GDP per capita,and urbanization, in nations where women have higher status (variously measured), total fertilityrates, infant mortality rates, military expenditures, and inflows of foreign direct investinent arelower, and public health care expenditures and per capita meat consumption are higher. Theseresults suggest that women's status likely has social effects that can be seen on the macro-level,and that world-systems analysts should pay more attention to theories of gender in their research.
How to Cite
York, R., & Ergas, C. (2011). Women’s Status and World-System Position: An Exploratory Analysis. Journal of World-Systems Research, 17(1), 147-164. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2011.424
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