Such stories abound, yet commentators rarely connect them to broader trends. Experts rightly anguish over rising authoritarianism. Yet they have spent relatively little time looking at one of the authoritarians’ favorite wedge issues: gender.
This strategy is as old as authoritarianism itself. Dictators are adept at using fear — focused on foreigners, cultural change or minorities — to divide and distract. They are happy to exploit traditional hierarchies to this end. Gender differences come in especially handy.