Image: Yellow “crime scene do not cross” tape in front of a black background. Image courtesy of Null Value, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Each March, we celebrate women’s history month. During this time we recognize influential women and highlight the various challenges and inequities that women face. Many scholars have shown that gender inequality predicts violence, specifically homicide, against women. Yet new research from Moore and colleagues suggests that gender inequality also predicts  homicide against men.

Constructing a database modeled after the UN Human Development Report, the authors calculated each US state’s gender inequality index based on health, empowerment, and labor market participation measurements. They also indexed homicide rates for each state using the FBI Uniform Crime Report. The authors find that as gender inequality increases, the total homicide rate also increases. That is, as a state becomes more unequal for women, more homicides are committed. These findings hold true even when male and female homicide are analyzed independently. For example, as gender inequality increases, the male homicide rate also increases.

Previous studies have linked gender inequality to violence against women, either through women’s empowerment or through the backlash they face from men. Overall, scholars have found that as women gain political, social, and economic power, they are less likely to be targets of violence. This new study is important because it shows that gender inequality not only increases violence against women but increases violence against men as well.