- The gender gap in voting revisited: women's party preferences in a European context
- Social Politics
- Volume | Issue number
- 21 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Differences between the political behavior of men and women have been a topic of political research for a long time. One focus of the "gender gap" discussion has been on gender differences in electoral behavior. Even though the act of voting itself is fairly equally distributed, women and men seem to show different preferences when it comes to filling out the ballots. While women voted for conservative and center-right parties to a greater degree than men until the 1970s, these gender differences are no longer prevalent in many advanced industrialized democracies. Instead, women, in comparison to men, are nowadays leaning more to the left in their voting decisions. Although analyses have revealed that the "modern" gender voting gap varies across countries, most studies have only focused on individual-level explanations. Using data from the European Values Study for 2008, this article provides a comparative analysis regarding the current state of the gender voting gap for twenty-five European Union member states. It is the first attempt to explore in how far cross-national differences in the modern gender voting gap can be explained, not only by the individual, but also by the socio-structural and cultural-attitudinal context. The findings for 2008 indicate that, in comparison with previous studies, the modern gender voting gap can be confirmed for most of the countries. Its size, however, varies across countries. Moreover, this article shows that, besides individual characteristics, both socio-structural and cultural-attitudinal country factors contribute to the understanding of cross-national differences in the modern gender voting gap.
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