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Mind the Gender Gap: An Experiment on the Influence of Self-Efficacy on Political Interest

  • Jessica Robinson Preece (a1)

In a healthy democracy, one would expect to see roughly equal levels of political participation among men and women. Yet—aside from voting—women are significantly less politically engaged than men at both the mass and elite levels (Atkeson 2003; Bennett and Bennett 1989; Burns, Schlozman, and Verba 2001; Lawless and Fox 2010; Verba, Burns, and Schlozman 1997). The political engagement gender gap suggests that some form of “adverse selection” is at play in the system (Mansbridge 1999, 632). This takes many forms: women have traditionally had less access to resources, more burdensome family obligations, and fewer relevant role models. However, emerging research demonstrates that even when accounting for many of these factors, women remain less engaged with politics than similarly situated men. This suggests that changing these structural factors is not enough to close the gender gap in political engagement—we must address the “gendered psyche” that prevents many women from fully participating in civic life (Lawless and Fox 2010, 12).

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Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
  • EISSN: 1743-9248
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