Experimental Investigations of the Gendered Political Ambition Gap

30 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2014

See all articles by Mirya R. Holman

Mirya R. Holman

Tulane University - Department of Political Science

Monica C. Schneider

Miami University of Ohio - Department of Political Science

Date Written: August 11, 2014

Abstract

Political institutions around the world continue to be dominated by men. News media and scholarly accounts often focus on how external factors, like political parties and elite networks, and internal factors, like women’s self-confidence and political interest, combine to depress women’s political ambition. Yet, we know little about whether these popular narratives matter for effecting women’s political ambition. We demonstrate that blaming women’s underrepresentation on internal or external causes results in clear changes in women’s political ambition. Attributing women’s lack of parity in political offices to external factors is akin to blaming discrimination and allows group members to “discount” the possibility that failure rests on their own abilities. Alternatively, attributing women’s underrepresentation on internalized factors triggers stereotype threat, which depresses women’s political ambition. Our findings contribute to an understanding of women’s underrepresentation in political office and the importance of frames in encouraging civic engagement.

Keywords: gender, political ambition, political psychology, experiments

Suggested Citation

Holman, Mirya R. and Schneider, Monica C., Experimental Investigations of the Gendered Political Ambition Gap (August 11, 2014). Holman, Mirya R. and Monica C. Schneider. 2014. "Experimental Investigations of the Gendered Political Ambition Gap." American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2478772 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2478772

Mirya R. Holman (Contact Author)

Tulane University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Tulane University
316 Norman Mayer Building
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

Monica C. Schneider

Miami University of Ohio - Department of Political Science ( email )

Miami University
Oxford, OH 45056
United States

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