What Explains Low Female Political Representation? Evidence from Survey Experiments in Japan
40 Pages Posted: 2 May 2017
Date Written: May 2, 2017
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
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