Bridging the enduring gender gap in political interest in Europe : the relevance of promoting gender equality
Title: Bridging the enduring gender gap in political interest in Europe : the relevance of promoting gender equality
Citation: European journal of political research, 2017, Vol. 56, No. 3, pp. 601-618
ISSN: 0304-4130; 1475-6765
Notwithstanding the improvement in gender equality in political power and resources in European democracies, this study shows that, on average, declared interest in politics is 16 per cent lower for women than for men in Europe. This gap remains even after controlling for differences in men's and women's educational attainment, material and cognitive resources. Drawing on the newly developed European Institute for Gender Equality's (EIGE) Gender Equality Index (GEI) and on the European Social Survey (ESS) fifth wave, we show that promoting gender equality contributes towards narrowing the magnitude of the differences in political interest between men and women. However, this effect appears to be conditioned by the age of citizens. More specifically, findings show that in Europe gender-friendly policies contribute to bridging the gender gap in political engagement only during adulthood, suggesting that childhood socialisation is more strongly affected by traditional family values than by policies promoting gender equality. In contrast, feminizing social citizenship does make a difference by reducing the situational disadvantages traditionally faced by women within the family and in society for middle-aged people and older.
First published: 7 March 2017
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