Dataset: Past Sources of Present Gender Equality at Higher Latitudes



Gender equality is a marker of higher societal levels of health, harmony, and human development. It is thus key to understand ultimate origins of gender roles, beyond more proximal socio-economic causes. The law of requisite variety predicts that the greater variability in daylength, temperature, rainfall, plant growth and animal life at higher latitudes requires greater flexibility facilitated by greater gender equality. Accordingly, for 87 pre-industrial societies after 1500 CE, we find that gender equality was lowest in the Equatorial Zone, increased in opposite north-south directions toward the North and South Poles, and varied negligibly with longitude. That ecological finding replicates itself robustly in 175 contemporary countries. Historically, women and men seem to have linked habitat variability to necessary subsistence flexibility—foraging rather than raising domesticated plants and animals. Indeed, pre-industrial inhabitants of higher-latitude habitats showed greater flexibility and, relatedly, greater gender equality that is still reflected around the world today. Files contain source data (SPSS files) and supplementary material including analysis codes (MS-WORD file)
Datum van beschikbaarheid25-nov-2021

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