Women, Gender Gap and Voting Behaviors

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Women, Gender Gap and Voting Behaviors

By: Sarah Langenwalter

Women have always had so many different and interesting behavior patterns; whether they are patterns at home, at work, or even at the polls. Choosing this topic was easy, women are very unique about everything, and I was curious to see the differences in the way we vote compared to men, the gender gap. With the help of peer reviewed articles and other research, I am planning to explain the gender gap as well as other voting behaviors that women perform. The peer reviewed articles that I chose will be discussed in the following order: “The Gender Gap: When an Opinion Gap is not a Voting Bloc” by Linda Bennett, “How Do Female Spouses’ Political Interests Affect Male Spouses’ Views about a Women’s Issue?” by Eiji Yamamura, “The Political Gender Gap: Gender Bias in Facial Inferences that Predict Voting Behavior” by Joan Chiao, Nicholas E. Bowman, and Harleen Gill, “Political Context and the Turnout of New Women Voters after Suffrage” by Kevin Corder and Christina Wolbrecht and lastly, “The Gender Gap” by Karen Kaufmann. I chose this order to present the articles that I found because I wanted to have consistent spacing of articles about the gender gap spread out. That is the main focus of this paper, but there are other things to consider, therefore I chose the second and fourth articles for their behavior topics. Throughout this paper, the five peer reviewed articles listed above will be broken down, explained and summarized. By the end of this paper, what I hope to accomplish is to share research about the gender gap and women’s voting behavior as well as present a research question that I do not think has been answered and a solution to my question. The question I would like to present is what really controls gender gaps? The end result of what I hope this paper will accomplish is to present some research on the gender gap and other women voting behaviors as well as present my own questions and ideas on this topic.

The first article, “The Gender Gap: When an Opinion Gap is not a Voting Bloc” written by Linda Bennett, was published in Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press) in 1986. I chose this article first because it is the oldest, and sometimes you have to start at the beginning. In this case the first thing we need to start off with is the definition of gender gap, this article presented a nice definition; “The ‘gender gap,’ i.e., the percentage differences between the sexes in voting and on a host of attitudinal dimensions” (Bennett, 613). The article first starts by given the base line criteria for voting blocs, by comparing women’s voting blocs to other groups’ voting blocs, such as ethnic groups, a base line could easily be established. There are certain criteria that need to be met, things like group identification, identifying with a candidate, and level of relevance toward the election (Bennett, 615). This was a key part to this article because it gives the rest of the research a firm foundation to stand on. Throughout the years the CPS studied the actions of different groups and how they vote, their findings were the basis for this study, group identification and consciousness. “Identification and consciousness both denote cognitions: the former about a person's relation to others within a stratum, the latter about a stratum's position within a society. Identification refers to the awareness of having ideas, feelings and interests similar to others who share the same stratum characteristics. Consciousness refers to a set of political beliefs and action orientations arising out of this similarity. (Gurin, Miller, and Gurin, 1980:30)” (Bennett, 616). Group identification is the first thing that is looked at when looking for a voting bloc. Next thing looked at is group relevance and then group member as a candidate. Each term individually does not show a true pattern about voting blocs, but when the results for each...
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