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The Gender Gap in Self-Perceived Understanding of Politics in Canada and the United States

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 November 2008

Elisabeth Gidengil
McGill University
Janine Giles
University of Calgary
Melanee Thomas
McGill University


Despite the gains women have made since the advent of second-wave feminism, women remain less confident than men of their ability to understand politics. This gender gap has remained unchanged for decades, yet it has attracted surprisingly little scholarly attention in recent years. This article uses data from the 2000 American and 2004 Canadian election studies to assess whether differences in women's and men's socioeconomic resources help to explain the gender gap. We also examine whether there are differences in the ways that socioeconomic resources affect women's and men's self-perceived ability to understand politics. We focus particular attention on the effects of parenthood on women's confidence in their understanding of politics. Finally, we consider the role of feminism and gender role conceptions.

Research Article
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2008

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