Women’s Social Empowerment and Gender Differences in Adults’ Cognitive Competence

Daniela Weber , Wittgenstein Centre, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Vienna University of Economics and Business
Agneta Herlitz, Karolinska Institutet

Female social empowerment via changes in gender roles and gender equity has the potential to enhance women’s cognitive abilities. Our results from previous work investigating the role of gender equity in education and improved living conditions during early adulthood suggest that European women gain more from societal improvements over time than their male counterparts, The aim of this study is to extend this work by investigating the association between women’s social empowerment during childhood and early adulthood and gender differences in cognition of people at working age for more than 30 OECD countries. We analyze the three established cognitive competences measures literacy, numeracy and problem solving, which are key skills for labor market participation. Using the national survey data PIAAC collected within three rounds in 2011, 2014, and 2017, we will apply mixed effect models to analyze the association of female social empowerment earlier in life on gender differences in the three cognitive key competences. Our preliminary findings suggest that gender roles and gender equity factors associated with women’s empowerment, are more beneficial for women’s cognitive key competences than men’s.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy