Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Gender and Democratic Attitudes: Do Women and Men Prioritize Different Democratic Institutions?

  • Michael A. Hansen (a1) and Agustín Goenaga (a2)

Abstract

Using the 2012 European Social Survey (ESS), this article provides the first comparative analysis of how conceptions of democracy differ between men and women in 29 countries, and how this relates to their overall satisfaction with and support for democracy. Women tend to consider less important those aspects of democracy that privilege male resources and power, such as representative institutions, political parties, and the media. Instead, women assign more importance to those aspects of democracy that are less prone to reproduce gender inequalities, such as those related to direct participation (i.e., referenda), public justification of government decisions, and the protection of social rights. These differences are small in size but are comparable to the effects of other individual-level characteristics such as income or education. Finally, gendered differences in conceptions of democracy are not associated with different levels of democratic support. Men and women are most supportive of democracy where they are able to develop differentiated views about which aspects of democracy are most important for them.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Gender and Democratic Attitudes: Do Women and Men Prioritize Different Democratic Institutions?
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Gender and Democratic Attitudes: Do Women and Men Prioritize Different Democratic Institutions?
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Gender and Democratic Attitudes: Do Women and Men Prioritize Different Democratic Institutions?
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All
*

Authors are listed in reverse alphabetical order. Goenaga acknowledges funding from a ‘Society's Big Questions' research fellowship from the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Andersen, Robert. 2012. “Support for Democracy in Cross-National Perspective: The Detrimental Effect of Economic Inequality.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Consequences of Economic Inequality, 30 (4): 389402.
Anderson, Christopher J., and Guillory, Christine A.. 1997. “Political Institutions and Satisfaction with Democracy: A Cross-National Analysis of Consensus and Majoritarian Systems.” The American Political Science Review 91 (1): 6681.
Ariely, Gal, and Davidov, Eldad. 2011. “Can We Rate Public Support for Democracy in a Comparable Way? Cross-National Equivalence of Democratic Attitudes in the World Value Survey.” Social Indicators Research 104 (2): 271–86.
Bäck, Hanna, Debus, Marc, and Müller, Jochen. 2014. “Who Takes the Parliamentary Floor? The Role of Gender in Speech-Making in the Swedish Riksdag.” Political Research Quarterly 67 (3): 504–18.
Baekgaard, Martin, and Kjaer, Ulrik. 2012. “The Gendered Division of Labor in Assignments to Political Committees: Discrimination or Self-Selection in Danish Local Politics?Politics & Gender 8 (4): 465–82.
Beauregard, Katrine. 2018. “Women's Representation and Gender Gaps in Political Participation: Do Time and Success Matter in a Cross-National Perspective?Politics, Groups, and Identities 6 (2): 237–63.
Beauvais, Edana. 2019. “The Gender Gap in Political Discussion Group Attendance.” Politics & Gender, 124. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1743923X18000892.
Bengtsson, Åsa, and Mattila, Mikko. 2009. “Direct Democracy and Its Critics: Support for Direct Democracy and ‘Stealth’ Democracy in Finland.” West European Politics 32 (5): 1031–48.
Bratton, Michael, and Mattes, Robert. 2001. “Support for Democracy in Africa: Intrinsic or Instrumental?British Journal of Political Science 31 (3): 447–74.
Bratton, Michael, Mattes, Robert, and Gyimah-Boadi, E.. 2005. Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa. Cambridge University Press.
Burrell, Barbara. 1985. “Women's and Men's Campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives, 1972-1982. A Finance Gap?American Politics Quarterly 13 (3): 251–72.
Canache, Damarys. 2012. “Citizens’ Conceptualizations of Democracy: Structural Complexity, Substantive Content, and Political Significance.” Comparative Political Studies 45 (9): 1132–58.
Canache, Damarys, Mondak, Jeffery J., and Seligson, Mitchell A.. 2001. “Meaning and Measurement in Cross-National Research on Satisfaction with Democracy.” Public Opinion Quarterly 65 (4): 506–28.
Carlin, Ryan E. 2006. “The Socioeconomic Roots of Support for Democracy and the Quality in Latin America.” Revista de Ciencia Política 26 (1): 4866.
Carlin, Ryan E. 2011. “Distrusting Democrats and Political Participation in New Democracies: Lessons from Chile.” Political Research Quarterly 64 (3): 668687.
Carlin, Ryan E., and Singer, Matthew M.. 2011. “Support for Polyarchy in the Americas.” Comparative Political Studies 44 (11): 15001526.
Carnaghan, Ellen, and Bahry, Donna. 1990. “Political Attitudes and the Gender Gap in the USSR.” Comparative Politics 22 (4): 379–99.
Caul, Miki. 2001. “Political Parties and the Adoption of Candidate Gender Quotas: A Cross-National Analysis.” The Journal of Politics 63 (4): 1214–29.
Chu, Yun-han, Diamond, Larry, Nathan, Andrew J., and Shin, Doh Chull. 2008. How East Asians View Democracy. Columbia University Press.
Collier, David, LaPorte, Jody, and Seawright, Jason. 2012. “Putting Typologies to Work: Concept Formation, Measurement, and Analytic Rigor.” Political Research Quarterly 65 (1): 217–32.
Crespin, Michael H., and Deitz, Janna L.. 2010. “If You Can't Join ’Em, Beat ’Em: The Gender Gap in Individual Donations to Congressional Candidates.” Political Research Quarterly 63 (3): 581–93.
Crow, David. 2010. “The Party's Over: Citizen Conceptions of Democracy and Political Dissatisfaction in Mexico.” Comparative Politics 43 (1): 4161.
Dalton, Russell J., Sin, To-ch'ŏl, and Jou, Willy. 2007. “Understanding Democracy: Data from Unlikely Places.” Journal of Democracy 18 (4): 142–56.
Dolan, Kathleen. 2005. “Do Women Candidates Play to Gender Stereotypes? Do Men Candidates Play to Women? Candidate Sex and Issues Priorities on Campaign WebsitesPolitical Research Quarterly 58 (1): 3144.
Dolan, Kathleen. 2014. When Does Gender Matter?: Women Candidates and Gender Stereotypes in American Elections. Oxford University Press.
Dolan, Kathleen. 2018. Voting for Women: How The Public Evaluates Women Candidates. Routledge.
Dolan, Kathleen, and Hansen, Michael. 2018. “Blaming Women or Blaming the System? Public Perceptions of Women's Underrepresentation in Elected Office.” Political Research Quarterly 71(3), 668680.
European Social Survey. 2012. “European Social Survey Round 6 Data (2012). Data File Edition 2.3. NSD.” Norwegian Centre for Research Data, Norway – Data Archive and distributor of ESS data for ESS ERIC.
Ferrín, Mónica, and Kriesi, Hanspeter. 2016. How Europeans View and Evaluate Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Fraile, Marta. 2014. “Do Women Know Less About Politics Than Men? The Gender Gap in Political Knowledge in Europe.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 21 (2): 261–89.
Fraile, Marta, and Gomez, Raul. 2017. “Why Does Alejandro Know More about Politics than Catalina? Explaining the Latin American Gender Gap in Political Knowledge.” British Journal of Political Science 47 (1): 91112.
Galais, Carol, Öhberg, Patrik, and Coller, Xavier. 2016. “Endurance at the Top: Gender and Political Ambition of Spanish and Swedish MPs.” Politics & Gender 12 (3): 596621.
Gibson, James L., Duch, Raymond M., and Tedin, Kent L.. 1992. “Democratic Values and the Transformation of the Soviet Union.” The Journal of Politics 54 (2): 329–71.
Goodin, Robert E. 2003. Reflective Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Goodin, Robert E., and Niemeyer, Simon J.. 2003. “When Does Deliberation Begin? Internal Reflection versus Public Discussion in Deliberative Democracy.” Political Studies 51 (4): 627–49.
Hajnal, Zoltan L., Gerber, Elisabeth R., and Louch, Hugh. 2002. “Minorities and Direct Legislation: Evidence from California Ballot Proposition Elections.” The Journal of Politics 64 (1): 154–77.
Hansen, Michael A. 2019. “Women and the Radical Right: Exploring Gender Differences in Vote Choice for Radical Right Parties in Europe.” Österreichische Zeitschrifür Politikwissenschaft 48 (2): 121.
Hausmann, Ricardo, Tyson, Laura D., and Zahidi, Saadia. 2012. “The Global Gender Gap Report 2012.” World Economic Forum. 2012. https://www.weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2012/.
Inglehart, Ronald, and Norris, Pippa. 2000. “The Developmental Theory of the Gender Gap: Women's and Men's Voting Behavior in Global PerspectiveInternational Political Science Review 21 (4): 441–63.
Karp, Jeffrey, and Banducci, Susan. 2008. “When Politics Is Not Just a Man's Game: Women's Representation and Political Engagement.” Electoral Studies 27 (1): 105–15.
Karpowitz, Christopher F., and Mendelberg, Tali. 2014. The Silent Sex: Gender, Deliberation, and Institutions. Princeton University Press.
Karpowitz, Christopher F., Mendelberg, Tali, and Shaker, Lee. 2012. “Gender Inequality in Deliberative Participation.” American Political Science Review 106 (3): 533–47.
Kaufmann, Karen M., and Petrocik, John R.. 1999. “The Changing Politics of American Men: Understanding the Sources of the Gender Gap.” American Journal of Political Science 43 (3): 864–87.
Kellstedt, Paul M., Peterson, David A. M., and Ramirez, Mark D.. 2010. “The Macro Politics of a Gender Gap.” Public Opinion Quarterly 74 (3): 477–98.
Kim, Jeong Hyun. 2019. “Direct Democracy and Women's Political Engagement.American Journal of Political Science. Early View. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12420.
Kitchens, Karin E., and Swers, Michele L.. 2016. “Why Aren't There More Republican Women in Congress? Gender, Partisanship, and Fundraising Support in the 2010 and 2012 Elections.” Politics & Gender 12 (4): 648–76.
Kittilson, Miki C., and Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie. 2010. “Party Systems, Democratic Engagement and Gender in Comparative Perspective.” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 1642789. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=1642789.
Koch, Jeffrey. 1997. “Candidate Gender and Women's Psychological Engagement in Politics.” American Politics Quarterly 25 (1): 118–33.
Koenig, Anne M., Eagly, Alice H., Mitchell, Abigail A., and Ristikari, Tiina. 2011. “Are Leader Stereotypes Masculine? A Meta-Analysis of Three Research Paradigms.” Psychological Bulletin 137 (4): 616–42.
Konte, Maty, and Klasen, Stephan. 2016. “Gender Difference in Support for Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Do Social Institutions Matter?Feminist Economics 22 (2): 5586.
Krook, Mona Lena. 2009. Quotas for Women in Politics: Gender and Candidate Selection Reform Worldwide. Oxford University Press.
Lawless, Jennifer L., and Fox, Richard L.. 2010. It Still Takes A Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office. Cambridge University Press.
Leininger, Arndt. 2015. “Popular Support for Direct Democracy in Europe.” In ECPR Joint Sessions. https://ecpr.eu/Filestore/PaperProposal/81025c54-6d96-42eb-99bd-d1c6769be3ac.pdf.
Lindberg, Staffan, Coppedge, Michael, Gerring, John, and Teorell, Jan. 2014. “V-Dem: A New Way to Measure Democracy.” Journal of Democracy 25 (3): 159–69.
Logan, Carolyn, and Bratton, Michael. 2006. “The Political Gender Gap in Africa: Similar Attitudes, Different Behaviors.” Working paper 58. Afrobarometer.
Lumley, Thomas. 2019. “Survey: analysis of complex survey samples.” R package version 3.35-1.
Mansbridge, Jane. 1986. Why We Lost the ERA. University of Chicago Press.
Marshall, Thomas Humphrey. 1950. Citizenship and Social Class: And Other Essays. University Press.
McCloskey, Herbert, and Zaller, John. 1984. The American Ethos: Public Attitudes Toward Capitalism and Democracy. Cambridge and New York: Harvard University Press.
Mendelberg, Tali, Karpowitz, Christopher F., and Baxter Oliphant, J.. 2014. “Gender Inequality in Deliberation: Unpacking the Black Box of Interaction.” Perspectives on Politics 12 (1): 1844.
Norris, Pippa. 2004. “Women's Representation.” In Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior, 179–208. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Pateman, Carole. 1988. The Sexual Contract. Stanford University Press.
Paxton, Pamela. 1997. “Women in National Legislatures: A Cross-National Analysis.” Social Science Research 26 (4): 442–64.
Phillips, Anne. 1991. Engendering Democracy. Pennsylvania State University Press.
Phillips, Anne. 1998. Feminism and Politics. Oxford University Press.
Quaranta, Mario. 2018. “The Meaning of Democracy to Citizens Across European Countries and the Factors Involved.” Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement 136 (3): 859–80.
Rosen, Jennifer. 2017. “Gender Quotas for Women in National Politics: A Comparative Analysis across Development Thresholds.” Social Science Research 66 (August): 82101.
Ruedin, Didier. 2012. “The Representation of Women in National Parliaments: A Cross-National Comparison.” European Sociological Review 28 (1): 96109.
Sanbonmatsu, Kira, and Dolan, Kathleen. 2009. “Do Gender Stereotypes Transcend Party?Political Research Quarterly 62 (3): 485–94.
Schedler, Andreas, and Sarsfield, Rodolfo. 2007. “Democrats with Adjectives: Linking Direct and Indirect Measures of Democratic Support.” European Journal of Political Research 46 (5): 637–59.
Schlesinger, Mark, and Heldman, Caroline. 2001. “Gender Gap or Gender Gaps? New Perspectives on Support for Government Action and Policies.” The Journal of Politics 63 (1): 5992.
Smith, Rogers M. 1993. “Beyond Tocqueville, Myrdal, and Hartz: The Multiple Traditions in America.” The American Political Science Review 87 (3): 549–66.
Somers, Margaret R. 2008. Genealogies of Citizenship: Markets, Statelessness, and the Right to Have Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sommer, Udi. 2013. “Representative Appointments: The Effect of Women's Groups in Contentious Supreme Court Confirmations.” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy 34 (1): 122.
Ulbricht, Tom. 2018. “Perceptions and Conceptions of Democracy: Applying Thick Concepts of Democracy to Reassess Desires for Democracy.” Comparative Political Studies 51(11), 13871440.
Waldron-Moore, Pamela. 1999. “Eastern Europe at the Crossroads of Democratic Transition: Evaluating Support for Democratic Institutions, Satisfaction with Democratic Government, and Consolidation of Democratic Regimes.” Comparative Political Studies 32 (1): 3262.
Walker, Lee Demetrius, and Kehoe, Genevieve. 2013. “Regime Transition and Attitude toward Regime: The Latin American Gender Gap in Support for Democracy.” Comparative Politics 45 (2): 187205.
Warren, Mark E. 2017. “A Problem-Based Approach to Democratic Theory.” American Political Science Review 111 (1): 3953.
Wolak, Jennifer. 2015. “Candidate Gender and the Political Engagement of Women and Men.” American Politics Research 43 (5): 872–96.

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Hansen and Goenaga supplementary material
Appendices

 Word (81 KB)
81 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed