Androcracy is a form of government in which the government rulers are male. The males, especially fathers, have the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property. It is also sometimes called a phallocracy, phallocratic, andrarchy, or an androcentric society. This term derives from the Greek root words andros, "man", and krateo (as in democratic), or "to rule".
Traditionally, influential political positions have been disproportionately occupied by males. With the rise of feminism since the late 19th century, opinions concerning women in politics have changed in a manner that has facilitated an increase in female political participation. Nevertheless, there continues to be a considerable disparity between the percentage of males and females in politics. Currently, women represent 19.4 percent of all parliamentarians in the regions of Europe, the Americas, Sub-Sahara Africa, Asia, the Pacific, the Arab States, and Nordic countries. The level of female participation in parliament varies between regions, ranging from percentages as high as 42 in Nordic countries to as low as 11.4 in Arabic states.
Riane Eisler, in her book The Chalice and the Blade, contrasts androcratic male-dominated society with gylany, i.e., partnership society based on gender equality.
Gylany is balanced and equalitarian, and should not be confused with gynocracy or matriarchy, which define systems where women impose hierarchical power over men.
Androcracy as a gender bias may influence the decision-making process in many countries. 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 Eller in her book The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory.