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Women as Candidates: An Experimental Study in Turkey

  • Richard E. Matland (a1) and Güneş Murat Tezcür (a1)

Patriarchal practices and understandings, especially those based on religious teachings, are seen as serious hindrances to women's access to political power. This obstacle often is seen as greatest in countries where Islam is the dominant religion. This study offers preliminary insights regarding how the sex of political candidates affects voting perceptions and behavior in Turkey, one of the few democratic countries with a Muslim majority population. We designed an experiment in which university students read speeches by candidates from the two major parties (AKP and CHP), randomly varying the sex of the candidates. We find that candidate sex influences respondents' evaluations of areas of competence and perceptions of individual characteristics. It has almost no impact, however, on voting decisions. When it comes to voting, party support and policy stands are vastly more important than candidate sex, even for religiously observant voters.

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