Gender Differences in Support for the Use of Military Force in Cross-National Perspective: The War System, Modernization, and the Universal Logics of Military Action
18 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2015
Date Written: October 2, 2007
There is ample evidence from the US context that women, although hardly pacifist, are less supportive of the use of military force than are men. However, the evidence is largely restricted to one conflict episode (the first Gulf War), and there is almost no cross-national evidence that would allow us to evaluate important hypotheses (especially concerning the universality of gender differences). In this paper, I aim to close this gap in the evidence. The most important finding is this: Gender differences vary substantially across societies and within a number of international conflicts. The data therefore cast doubt on any theory that would predict constant gender differences, most importantly any biological explanation, but also the version of Goldstein’s hypothesis that relates universally gendered war socialization to the pervasiveness of the “war system”.
Keywords: gender, war, public opinion, national security
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