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Examining Gender Gaps in Sociopolitical Attitudes: It’s Not Mars and Venus (WP-05-11)

Alice H. Eagly and Amanda B. Diekman

This paper investigates a robust, important, and fairly recent phenomenon: Women as members of the body politic think and vote differently than men. Despite frequent discussion of these phenomena in the press, gender has remained surprisingly underanalyzed in political psychology. Moving beyond the stereotypical interpretations often seized upon by the media, we present a feminist analysis by invoking the social positioning of women and men as the origin of the differing political stances of women and men. From our perspective, gender gaps in attitudes and behavior are shaped by the divergence of women’s interests from those of men; in turn, these divergent interests derive from the gender division of labor.

Alice H. Eagly, Professor of Psychology and Department Chair; Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

Amanda B. Diekman, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Miami University

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