In modern societies, most governments are ruled by men. The rise of feminism in the 20th century brought access to contraception and increased equal opportunities for women, both of which enabled women to challenge the traditional hegemony of androcratic institutions. Nevertheless, studies have been conducted in Africa, Australia, and Europe which continue to demonstrate a disproportionate representation of men in government. As of 2004, women represented 15.5 percent of all parliamentarians. Nordic countries have the highest representation at close to 40 percent, while Arab states have the lowest, at near 6 percent.
Riane Eisler uses this term in her book, The Chalice and The Blade, along with the term Gylany, a goddess-centered partnership society, as opposed to Androcracy, a hierarchical dominator culture. (See gynocracy.)
Androcracy as a gender bias may influence the decision-making process in many countries, and women's issues may or may not be poorly represented as a result of gender discrimination. Kleinberg and Boris point to a dominant paradigm which promotes wage-earning fathers with financially dependent mothers, the exclusion of same-sex couples, and the marginalization of single-parent families.
The opposite of androcracy is gynecocracy, sometimes referred to as gynocracy, or rule by women. It is related to but not synonymous with matriarchy. Evidence indicating historical gynecocracies survives mostly in mythology and in some archaeological records, although it is disputed by some authors, like Cynthia Ell in her book the Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory. The occasionally proposed theory of a "Universal Matriarchy" of prehistorical times is generally considered to be mythical and not a historical fact.