Gender Differences in Political and Civic Engagement Among Young People

33 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 27 Aug 2009

See all articles by Kent E. Portney

Kent E. Portney

Texas A&M University - George Bush School of Government and Public Service

Richard G. Niemi

University of Rochester

Richard C. Eichenberg

Tufts University

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

The explosion of interest in the political and civic engagement of young people has brought increasing attention to the question of gender differences in youth engagement. One reason is that the study of young people may provide particular leverage on a common explanation for gender differences observed among adults, specifically that greater rates of participation among men—when present—arise from their advantage in the cognitive and material resources that promote political activity and that access to politically relevant resources are more equally distributed among younger citizens so that there is more gender uniformity than gender difference among the young.. This paper uses data from nationwide surveys of 18 to 24 year olds in 2006 and 2007 to examine the roots of gender differences in political activities and in community/nonprofit activities. After examining basic patterns of difference, it develops a multivariate model and applies it separately to young men and young women. The results of this analysis are then used as the point of departure for a preliminary analysis of the differential effects that male and female parents have on their children. Overall, we find evidence that having well-educated parents who are interested in politics affects women more than men. Talking to parents about politics seems to increase electoral engagement for young women more than for young men; but it also seems to increase community and nonprofit engagement for young men more than for young women.

Suggested Citation

Portney, Kent E. and Niemi, Richard G. and Eichenberg, Richard C., Gender Differences in Political and Civic Engagement Among Young People (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1451262

Kent E. Portney (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University - George Bush School of Government and Public Service ( email )

TAMU 4220
1004 George Bush Dr West
College Station, TX 77843
United States

Richard G. Niemi

University of Rochester ( email )

Box 270146
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0146
United States
585-275-5364 (Phone)

Richard C. Eichenberg

Tufts University ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

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