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Beyond the Gender Gap: Presidential Address to the Canadian Political Science Association, Saskatoon, 2007

  • Elisabeth Gidengil (a1)

Abstract. This article identifies a number of potential pitfalls in pursuing research on the gender gap phenomenon, including the risk of categorical thinking, reinforcing gender stereotypes, inviting normative comparisons and creating unrealistic expectations about the emergence of a “women's voting bloc.” It highlights the extent to which studies of gender gaps in vote choice and public opinion have adopted a female-centred perspective and calls for greater attention to the role of men in driving the process of gender re-alignment. It then uses data from a survey of women in Toronto and Montreal to illustrate the importance of moving beyond the gender gap to understand the differences that exist among women, especially along the lines of class and racial background.

Résumé. Le présent article décrit un certain nombre de pièges pouvant surgir lors des recherches sur l'écart entre les sexes, notamment le risque de la pensée catégorique, le renforcement des stéréotypes, l'invitation aux comparaisons normatives et la création d'attentes irréalistes quant à l'émergence d'un “vote des femmes en bloc”. L'article souligne à quel point les études portant sur l'écart entre les sexes dans le choix électoral et dans l'opinion publique ont adopté une perspective féminine, et il suggère que plus d'attention soit accordée au rôle de l'homme dans le processus du réalignement des sexes. Les données d'un sondage sur les femmes à Toronto et à Montréal illustrent l'importance de transcender l'écart entre les sexes pour comprendre les différences, fondées notamment sur la classe et la race, qui existent entre les femmes elles-mêmes.

Corresponding author
Elisabeth Gidengil, Department of Political Science, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2T7,
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
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