Is Press Freedom an Effective Tool to Empower Women? A Cross-Country Empirical Study
More equal economic, social and political rights for women have long been part of civil and political right movements. It is widely believed that women’s rights are important for greater economic prosperity, good governance and social equality. However, women are still being discriminated in many parts of the world. How women’s rights can be protected? To answer this question, the literature has highlighted the importance of free media in promoting women’s rights. The extant literature on media and women rights, however, is largely limited to descriptive analysis and theoretical arguments. Moreover, the available evidence is confined to few case studies and anecdotal stories, which cannot be generalized globally. This study contributes in the literature by empirically investigating the relationship of press freedom with women empowerment using a large panel of 160 countries from 1996 to 2011. For empirical analysis, the ordered logit method is used. The empirical finding confirms that press freedom is an effective tool to empower women’s economic, political and social rights. Findings of the study are shown to be robust to different specifications, sub-samples, regional controls and different forms of women empowerment.
JEL Classifications: C23, J16, Z10
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