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Gender Gaps in Sociopolitical Attitudes: A Social Psychological Analysis (WP-03-15)

Alice H. Eagly, Mary C. Johannesen-Schmidt, Amanda B. Diekman, and Anne M. Koenig

This research examined the proposition that differential role occupancy by women and men fosters gender gaps in sociopolitical attitudes. Analyses of the General Social Survey and a community sample showed that women, more than men, endorsed policies that are socially compassionate, traditionally moral, and supportive of equal rights for women and for gays and lesbians. To understand the relations between the social roles of women and men and these attitudes, the research examined (a) similarities between gender gaps and gaps associated with other respondent attributes such as race and parenthood, (b) interactions between respondent sex and other attributes, (c) the temporal patterning of gender gaps between 1973 and 1998, and (d) the mediation of attitudinal gender gaps by three ideological variables—commitment to equality, group-based dominance, and conservatism vs. liberalism.

Alice H. Eagly, Psychology and Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

Mary C. Johannesen-Schmidt, Psychology, Oakton Community College

Amanda B. Diekman, Psychology, Miami University of Ohio

Anne M. Koenig, Doctoral Student, Psychology, Northwestern University

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