Arash Nekoei, Fabian Sinn 27 May The international differences in women's status are striking. When and where did those differences first emerge? Is women's status improving everywhere today so that we expect global gender equality eventually?
This column uses data from the Human Biological Record to explore women's status over the last 5, years.
Explore santa barbara
The records show no long-run trend in women's share in recorded history. Historically, women's power has been a side-effect of nepotism: the more important family connections, the higher the women's share. But self-made women began to rise among the writers in the 17th century before a broader take-off in the 19th century. Exploring these captivating and yet unanswered questions teaches us about the future of women and other emancipation movements. Finding my path among a crowd of cyclists on an April morning, the frosty weather reminds me that Stockholm lies at sixty degrees north.
I am not surprised that most of the cyclists around me are women. But in fact, I should be shocked if I were to think in a historical and international context. Women have biked a long way to get here. They even adapted their clothing style to take advantage of the independence that this new, cheap mode of transport offered at the turn of the 20th century. Even in Sweden, the most gender-neutral country in Europe, just a few decades ago the cyclist crowd would be majority male, like most cyclist crowds in the world today EIGE What are the historical roots of these international differences?
How far back do we need to go in history to find the root of divergence? Should we expect a convergence eventually?
Starting in the s, second-wave feminism targeted workplace and legal inequality. But was it really the case that half of the world population were repressed for the entire history of humankind, leaving half of the total brainpower unused?
We had doubts from the beginning, as many outstanding women throughout history pop into my head. What about Sappho? What about Joan of Arc? The progress on these fundamental questions has been impeded by the lack of a consistent and comprehensive dataset covering time and space.
The Human Biographical Record is part of a larger project, the Human Recordwhere we construct and provide to the research community datasets like the Human Biographical Record using two components. Second, machine learning transfers all this information to datasets like the Human Biographical Record, where we can use modern statistical methods to uncover historical patterns.
As part of this research agenda, we attempt to write a quantitative history of women over the last 5, years Nekoei and Sinn a. Using the Human Biographical Record, our focus is on a fixed share of each generation top 1 percent milleto allow comparison across time and space. We first predict the likelihood of appearing in a traditional encyclopaedia, then extrapolate to rank all seven million entries in the Human Biographical Record. Women could initiate divorce, own and transmit property, receive an equal inheritance, and even achieve immortality LeskoBridenthal et al.
But the modern rise of women has a distinct and important feature.
A closer look at the Human Biographical Record individual-level data reveals that for most of history, women who became part of the elite were either born into influential families or married into them. This relationship is present across time in the time series and geographies within a period in the cross-sectionbut it slowly begins to break down in recent centuries.
But where did this group come from? The first rise in the share of women among self-mades is recorded among writers and poets born between and This market emerged in the context of increasing the literacy and purchasing power of women. These highly educated women flourished in new informal public spheres: salons and the Republic of Letters. The new feminine reading market encompassed new genres, such as the novel, in a new language: vernacular, not Latin.
The book market structure with many small buyers and less guild presence may have played a ificant role in creating a space for self-made women to flourish. A century and a half later, a broader take-off of self-made women started with the birth cohort — first among artists and scholars, followed by elected politicians, and finally appointed politicians.
There is no of a slowdown in the rate of progress, and self-made successful women have become a ubiquitous phenomenon in the recent period. A strong writer wave in the 17th century predicts a more substantial take-off of self-made women in the 19th century Figure 5. This effect has persisted and created cross-country divergence. We interpret these historical patterns through the lens of a theoretical framework.
Success has different dimensions — pecuniary or not, lasting or not — which all depend on three ingredients related to family connections, control of the individual skilland luck. Although all these elements are gender-neutral, their rates of return are not. The framework illustrates that the return rate of family connections has fluctuated, while a gender gap in the return rate persisted. We arrived in front of the German school, where my daughter will jump off the bike.
Here, Sophia Brenner — was exceptionally allowed to study when the school was only open to boys. In our data, she is part of the literary wave of women writers of the 17th century Figure 3.
Latin, the language necessary for a professional career, was considered inappropriate for Sophia Brenner. EIGEGender equality index. Topics: Economic history Gender. Tags: economic historygendergender inequality. Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists Create Subscribe.
Search form. The origin of the gender gap Arash Nekoei, Fabian Sinn 27 May The international differences in women's status are striking.
The positive impact of female autonomy on economic growth. Graziella Bertocchi, Monica Bozzano. Modern gender roles and ancient farming. Approach The progress on these fundamental questions has been impeded by the lack of a consistent and comprehensive dataset covering time and space.
Endnotes 1 Another dataset, Human War Record HWRcollects information about all conflicts in human history and matches the participants of those conflicts to their Human Biographical Record entries.
Arash Nekoei. Fabian Sinn.
Don't Miss. The economics of deep trade agreements: A new eBook. Fernandes, Rocha, Ruta.
A triumph of economics… but a lot of challenges ahead. Mitchener, O'Rourke, Wandschneider.
Salento Macro Meetings Homeownership of immigrants in France: selection effects related to international migration flows. Gobillon, Solignac. Giglio, Maggiori, Stroebel, Weber.
The Permanent Effects of Fiscal Consolidations. Demographics and the Secular Stagnation Hypothesis in Europe. Favero, Galasso. Independent report on the Greek official debt. Rebooting the Eurozone: Step 1 — Agreeing a Crisis narrative. Baldwin, Nakatomi. The economics of insurance and its borders with general finance. Maturity mismatch stretching: Banking has taken a wrong turn.