What Explains Low Female Political Representation? Evidence from Survey Experiments in Japan

40 Pages Posted: 2 May 2017

See all articles by Rieko Kage

Rieko Kage

University of Tokyo

Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Seiki Tanaka

University of Leeds

Date Written: May 2, 2017

Abstract

Few democratic countries have lower rates of female political representation than Japan, making it an excellent place to seek clues for female underrepresentation. We were surprised to find, based on three experimental surveys, that Japanese voters do not harbor particularly negative attitudes toward female politicians. The problem instead appears to be that women are reluctant to run for office because of socially mandated family roles. An implication of our study is that gender equality in Japanese politics will likely founder – especially in countries with electoral systems that require around-the-clock constituency service and legislative work – until voters no longer have gendered expectations about who performs time-consuming family work.

Keywords: female political representation, gender bias, survey experiments

Suggested Citation

Kage, Rieko and Rosenbluth, Frances McCall and Tanaka, Seiki, What Explains Low Female Political Representation? Evidence from Survey Experiments in Japan (May 2, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2961748 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2961748

Rieko Kage

University of Tokyo ( email )

Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States
203-432-5256 (Phone)

Seiki Tanaka (Contact Author)

University of Leeds ( email )

School of Politics and International Studies
Leeds, LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

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