Countries with less support for women in politics could also be champions in LGBTQ+ discrimination

The OECD Gender Index, a survey performed every four years by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, has shown comprehensive data about the treatment women receive from each country’s political institutions.

The research included all 38 member countries, mostly wealthy and Western nations, but also a group of other nations worldwide.

The index includes aspects such as the inclusion of women in national parliaments, violence, and the state of lawmaking that guarantees women’s rights.

Among the extensive results, one that stands out is the local support for women in politics. One may expect that, primarily, support for women in politics should stem directly from the people.

Researchers then asked citizens if they did agreed with the following statement:”

“On the whole, men make better political leaders than women do.”

As seen in the first graph, the top five countries (>30 percent of the respondents) counted with significant numbers of people who agreed with the statement. Among them were Turkyie, Estonia, Korea, Hungary, and Poland.

Surprisingly or not, these are the countries where women have traditionally fought the hardest for their rights. Whether because of religious taboos, such as in Turkyie or Korea, or due to political regimes centralised in the hands of men, as in Hungary or Poland. These countries have displayed backward attitudes when it comes to women in parliament and granting them a voice for protesting.

When contrasting the numbers of other research that has seen the state of LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender) rights, there is some correlation in how some of these countries also get some highlight in anti-LGBTQ sentiment.

According to the EU LGBT Survey, several countries have coincided in being both skeptics of women in power and presenting homophobic patterns of behavior.

In the indicator that shows respondents who have felt discriminated in the labor market on the grounds of their sexuality, Estonia (EE = 25%), Poland (PL=23%) appear high in this classification (graph below), above the European Union average (20%)

Even if countries that ranked high in the first survey, such as Hungary, which in the LGBT survey has figured below the UK or Italy, they may present high rates of homophobia. In 2022, Hungarian President Viktor Orban ran a referendum to forbid what he defined as “gay propaganda.”

With regards to the EU LGBT survey, Hungary’s low score could be either because interviewees did not want to disclose their sexual identity or other factors such as shame and lack of awareness. This could have influenced other countries with high rates of violence against LGBT individuals to come out as less discriminatory.

Another interesting data from the survey about sexual discrimination in the EU, vis-a-vis the OECD survey, lies in who in the LGBT umbrella gets the worst treatment by fellow citizens.

In the graph below, one concludes that lesbian women and transgender people have had a higher perception of discrimination than groups such as gay men and bisexuals.

29% of transgender respondents attested to a perceived disadvantage when looking for a job, while lesbians come in second at 21%.

These data corroborate that individuals that do not fit standards of appearance or gender affiliation tend to be overlooked not only if they are openly gay, but to the extent that they associate themselves with female groups.

A healthy labor market and institutional participation are pinnacles for a functioning democratic record in any country. Not only are these numbers critical for new public policies of inclusion, but they signal the need to mobilize institutional and citizen-driven forces that can help to improve these groups’ involvement with civic life, while contributing to their economic inclusion.

In a nutshell, gender politics do not belong only in academia or niche circles, but in the broader spectrum of debate. As seen, the current vicious cycle of inequality target women and sexual minoritized people the most.

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