Date of Award

Fall 12-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Political Science


Political Science

Major Professor

Huelshoff, Michael

Second Advisor

Day, Christine

Third Advisor

Frank, Richard


The women and peace hypothesis suggests that women are more likely than men to choose peace and compromise over violent conflict, whether as ordinary citizens or as government leaders. I test this concept by analyzing the percent of women in the parliaments and executive cabinets of 93 nations over a 31-year-period, comparing these figures to the presence of violent interstate conflicts for each country-year. Controlling for wealth, democratic status, national capabilities, military expenditures, and contiguity, I find moderate support for the women and peace hypothesis. This support continues when democratic system type is interacted with the measured office. While women do not affect a nation’s likelihood of violent conflict to the same degree that other, well-documented predictors do, the effect of women in higher office is nonetheless still significant.


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