Women as Candidates: An Experimental Study in Turkey

Politics & Gender, Vol. 7, pp. 365-390, September 2011.

35 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2011 Last revised: 26 Dec 2011

See all articles by Richard E. Matland

Richard E. Matland

Loyola University Chicago

Gunes Murat Tezcur

University of Central Florida

Date Written: April 10, 2011

Abstract

Patriarchal practices and understandings, especially based on religious teachings, are seen as serious hindrances to women’s access to political power. This obstacle often is seen as greatest in countries where Islam is the dominant religion. This study offers preliminary insights regarding how the gender of political candidates affects voting perceptions and behavior in Turkey, one of the few democratic countries with a Muslim majority population. We designed an experiment where university students read speeches by candidates from the two major parties (AKP and CHP). We randomly varied the sex of the candidates. Respondents report their perceptions of candidate’s characteristics and policy competencies and their willingness to vote for a candidate. We find candidate sex influences evaluations of areas of competence and perceptions of individual characteristics. It has almost no impact, however, on voting decisions. When it comes to voting, party support and policy stands are vastly more important than candidate sex, even for religiously observant voters.

Keywords: women, elections, experiments, Islam, Turkey

Suggested Citation

Matland, Richard E. and Tezcur, Gunes Murat, Women as Candidates: An Experimental Study in Turkey (April 10, 2011). Politics & Gender, Vol. 7, pp. 365-390, September 2011. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1806723

Richard E. Matland (Contact Author)

Loyola University Chicago ( email )

1032 W. Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60660
United States
773 508 7127 (Phone)
773 508 3131 (Fax)

Gunes Murat Tezcur

University of Central Florida ( email )

4297 Andromeda Loop N
Howard Phillips Hall, 302
Orlando, FL 32816
United States

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