Gender Difference and the Liberal-Realist Divide: Citizen Opinions of Power, Institutions, and War in Global Comparison
Convention of the International Studies Association, Atlanta, Georgia, March 2016
54 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 7, 2016
Recent scholarship has raised the hypothesis that gender difference in attitudes toward global issues may be rooted in a broader gender difference in world views, perhaps along the familiar liberal-realist divide. However, evidence for this hypothesis is limited. Most research examines gender difference in the US, and there is an almost exclusive focus on gender difference in attitudes toward military force and war. This paper offers a broader perspective and more cross-national evidence. Specifically, I examine gender difference in opinion surveys from more than forty countries across three categories of global issues: military power and balance of power, global institutions and their legitimacy, and military force and war. Taking the evidence as a whole, my major finding is that gender difference is greatest on issues of violence, force, and war. Second, it is only in the US that gender polarization characterizes general views of international institutions, but there is evidence in global opinion that multilateral military interventions lower gender difference, and women demonstrate less support for expending resources in the pursuit of power.
Keywords: gender, public opinion, war, national security
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