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The Rise and Decline of “Gender Gaps” in Support for Military Action: United States, 1986–2011

  • Yuval Feinstein (a1)
Abstract

In the past several decades, many scholars of public opinion in the United States have argued that American women are less likely than American men to endorse military action as a means to deal with international problems. Evidence for this “gender gap” has been found in studies of public opinion during major international conflicts (Bendyna et al. 1996; Wilcox, Ferrara, and Allsop 1993), as well as studies of longitudinal trends that examined pooled data sets from multiple conflict periods (Berinsky 2009; Burris 2008; Fite, Genest, and Wilcox 1990; Shapiro and Mahajan 1986). Researchers sometimes view men's generally greater rates of support for military actions as part of a more general “gender gap” phenomenon in U.S. politics, but the cumulative evidence has suggested that foreign policy issues and questions of peace/war generate the widest and most consistent gender gaps (see Holsti 2004, 209–10 for a review).

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