How Misogyny Makes Us Less Secure

Misogyny has permeated cultures worldwide for virtually all of human history, resulting in a vast disparity between the security of men and women.


Sweden has long been lauded as a leading example of a feminist government, with the current left-leaning government making great strides for equal pay and paid maternity leave among other policies. Despite, these great strides in progress, Sweden is not without its issues. Sweden has reported 63 cases of rape per 100,000 people, the highest in Europe. This is because rape is defined in Sweden as “sex without consent”, much broader than most other countries worldwide. Regardless, it is extremely disturbing to see so much sexual violence in a country that supposedly lauds itself as a champion of women’s equality. Worse yet, despite being a rape hotspot, Sweden may very well be the safest country in the world to live in as a woman. This underlines a grave issue: that of misogyny being rampant worldwide, even in one of the most progressive periods of time in history.

The resurgence of Taliban rule in Afghanistan has brought back much discourse surrounding the security of women. The Taliban has shown time and time again to be severe violators of women’s rights, affecting everything from sexual violence to women’s employment. These severe violations of women’s rights have led women to become extremely insecure, unable to afford basic food items. When women cannot provide for their families, especially if they are the sole breadwinner of their household, this causes unimaginable suffering and poverty.

Misogyny is a clear issue worldwide despite years of progress. It has resulted in everything from civil unrest to grisly violations of human rights. Indeed, some of the nations with the highest Women’s Danger Index, with South Africa, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, and Iran topping the list of countries reported to be most dangerous to women, are also some of the most dangerous. El Salvador the nation with the most femicides in the world, also has the highest murder rate in the world. It is clear that there is a link between misogyny and a less secure community.

Nations with high instances of severe misogyny, which commonly takes the form of femicide and sexual violence, tend to be less secure. What can make women more secure in a world where, even in progressive nations, they are frequently subject to misogyny? The answer lies in the central tenets of democracy: representation.

Representation is important for a just society because it allows representatives of various backgrounds, identities, and opinions to make legislative decisions. While it is not a cure for misogyny (Latin American countries suffer from high femicide rates despite having very high rates of female representation in government), it is a step in the right direction.

Misogyny is deeply ingrained in the education of men and women around the world, especially in countries where gender roles are very strict. For example, while men are conditioned to see women as sex objects by many cultures, women are conditioned to be subservient to men. These misogynistic cultural values are not specifically endemic to the developing world, as even more progressive countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have misogynistic cultural values deeply entrenched in their societies. For example, the United States has never elected a female president despite being a representative democracy for over 300 years. Education and promotion of progressive gender values is therefore vital for countering misogyny. In order to be effective, these measures must be implemented consistently worldwide.

Women are extremely valuable for society to function, as they contribute immensely to the global economy. Thus, they must be secure in order for societies to flourish. Some of the countries with the highest standards of living, namely New Zealand, Finland, and Sweden, all have progressive education systems that promote an alternative to misogynistic gender roles. They also have a sizeable amount of female government representation, even having female heads of state. Because of gender equality being promoted, women thrive in these countries. If we follow their example, maybe we could mitigate the disastrous effects of misogyny.

Matthew Kovacev
Matthew Kovacev
Student at George Mason University majoring in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Policy.