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    Understanding men's and women's political interests: evidence from a study of gendered political attitudes

    Campbell, Rosie and Winters, Kristi (2008) Understanding men's and women's political interests: evidence from a study of gendered political attitudes. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties 18 (1), pp. 53-74. ISSN 1745-7289.

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    Abstract

    That women generally have lower levels of interest in politics than men is a well rehearsed political fact (Andersen, 1975; Baxter & Lansing, 1983; Burns, 2001; Burns et al., 2001; Campbell et al., 1954; Hayes & Bean, 1993; Tolleson Rinehart, 1992) but less is known about the underlying causes of these differences. This paper attempts to unpick the concept of political interest, to either confirm that women are less interested in politics than men or to test whether women and men are simply interested in different things. We assess whether barriers to women's participation in politics, such as child rearing, have a detrimental effect on political interest. Finally we consider whether the process of gendered socialization, whereby men are more likely than women to have a high sense of agency, whilst women are more likely than men to have a high sense of communion with others, can account for the sex differences in political interest.

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