The WomanStats Database, part of the WomanStats Project, is the most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women in the world. The Project facilitates understanding the linkage between the situation of women and the security of nation-states. Researchers comb the extant literature and conduct expert interviews to find qualitative and quantitative information on over 260 indicators of women's status in 174 countries, comprising over 70,000 data points. The database expands daily, and access to it is free of charge.
The principal investigators are:
- Valerie M. Hudson, Brigham Young University (International Relations)
- Mary Caprioli, University of Minnesota-Duluth (International Relations)
- Chad Emmett, Brigham Young University (Geography)
- Rose McDermott, University of California-Santa Barbara (Political Psychology)
- Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Brigham Young University (Psychology)
Goals of the project
The Project has several interrelated goals:
- To develop the most comprehensive database on the situation and status of women in the world
- To develop innovative indices and measures to describe the situation and status of women, which will allow for empirical analysis, assessment, monitoring, and evaluation activities
- To perform empirical and spatial analysis of the relationship between the situation and status of women in the world with the behavior and security of states
Variables include those relating to nine aspects of women’s situation and security:
- Women’s Physical Security
- Women’s Economic Security
- Women’s Legal Security
- Women’s Security in the Community
- Women’s Security in the Family
- Security for Maternity
- Women’s Security Through Voice
- Security Through Societal Investment in Women
- Women’s Security in the State
The researchAs the database has progressed, the WomanStats Project has undertaken development of seven indices of
- physical security of women
- equity in family law for women
- degree of son preference, and
- toleration of trafficking in women.
Currently, the Project has completed the rankings of their set of 172 states on level of violence against women in society and toleration of trafficking in women. (It should be noted that each one of the seven scales draws upon more variables than GEM and GDI combined.)All scales listed above are available on the WomanStats website, along with corresponding maps.
With these rankings, the WomanStats Project is now able to explore how the situation of women is related to the behavior and the security of states. A first step will be to express the geography of gender status beliefs through GIS and other tools available to geographers. Second, we hope to analyze relationships among the independent variables concerning the status of women. We will explore issues such as the degree to which law and practice and attitudes concerning aspects of women's experience correlate and the possible existence of "syndromes" of treatment of women, with particular codings on one variable correlating with particular codings on other, seemingly unrelated variables. Third, the ultimate objective of the project will be to analyze the relationships to be found between the independent variables measuring the status of women in society and the dependent variables assessing aspects of internal, national, regional, and international security, including variables such as first use of force and adherence to international law. The principal investigators have already been able to trace a link between the physical security of women and the level of peacefulness and norm-compliance of nation-states.
Because the fate of nations is integrally tied to the status of women in society, this research project has the potential to profoundly affect every society's understanding of itself and the most important determinants of national and international security and their current and future transformation.
One of the most interesting aspects of WomanStats interdisciplinary research is the creation of world maps that represent the various aspects of the situation of women worldwide. As noted in the research section of the website, the WomanStats project has developed several indices of women's status, which then may be mapped using GIS and other techniques of political geography. On the website there are several maps, corresponding to WomanStats Project scales of:
- Women's Physical Security
- Trafficking of Women
- Son Preference/Sex Ratio
- Discrepancy Between Law and Practice Concerning Women, and
- Legality/Prevalence of Polygyny.
Using the database
The WomanStats Project collects data on all countries with a population greater than 200,000--a total of 174 countries. The Project codes 260 variables on data that includes laws, statistics, and practices within countries; the information available ranges from data on domestic violence to female landownership to political participation. The Project focuses primarily on data from governments (especially that data submitted to UN human rights bodies), non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, and country or topic experts. The data collected includes laws, statistics, statements of general fact made by experts and authorities, anecdotes, interpretations, and other information. A citation style sheet is included for your use. Further, all of our data is available to the public for free, and the information on the site is continually updated as newer information becomes available.
The database is searchable by country or by variable (i.e., issue area). The codebook (our list of variables) will be your useful guide to the data available and how it is grouped within the database.
To view the data, you first need to create a free account by reading our disclaimer and following the link at the bottom of the page to register as a user.
You can use the WomanStats database for anything from general research to in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis. All data files you create from the database according to your specifications are downloadable in .csv format, which can be opened using software such as Excel or OpenOffice.
While the information in the WomanStats database is extensive, not every data point is complete. Sometimes there are coding gaps in the database where information isn't available or where the information the WomanStats Project has compiled is incomplete. Occasionally, variables are not collected and reported by governments or international organizations. At times, information from different sources may be contradictory. Nonetheless, the researcher will find a wealth of useful information, which has never before been compiled in one database.
Contribution to the database & report requests
If you have access to information relevant to the database, please take time to share that information with others through our data entry page. If you are interested in having data on additional variables compiled, or if you are interested in having us prepare special reports, this can be done for a fee: please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org