Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences
Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences MAX 201
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Date Created: 10/21/15
The Gender Gap Differences in Political Participation Introduction The question of how gender in uences political participation has been discussed since women were given the right to vote in 1920 This topic is of particular interest currently because of the attention many women voters were given in the recent elections There has been much coverage in the media about how the voteSpf women are going to be key in the 2008 presidential elections and could have a major impact the recerltelegions that were just concluded However this recent media attention alludes to the fact that women are underestimated in voting andthus could be a potential untapped resource for those politicians looking to capture the must needed swing votes Capturing women s votes was a major part of the Democratsstrategy for this past year s congressional election but was interestingly not as pronouncedpart of the Republican s agenda This recent attention leads to the question what in uences the differences in political participation between men and women By examining this question it would allow us to see if the popular belief of women not participating in politics as much as men is true It would also allow us to see what in uences the participation of women in voting membership in politicalgroups and other political participation compared to their male counterparts In an article by Jeff Manza and Clem Brooks this question is examined in comparing presidential elections between 1952 and 1992 By using data from these past elections they analyze what changes may be affecting the political participation of women and what is creating the quotgender gap in politics in the United States The article focuses on a number of issues that have affected women s voting behavior as well as party af liation and evaluation of political leaders This article is interesting in the ways in which it brings historical context into understanding the evolving differences in political participation between men and women The authors state that while discussions of the gender gap in electoral politics have become commonplace in election reporting and commentary a veritable quotnational pastime according to Jennings 1988 p 12 there have been very few systematic analyses of its historical origins Manza amp Brooks 1998 The authors dissect how gender expectations growing up and in adult life can have implications on voting behavior As well they look at feminist consciousness and the in ux of women into the workforce to help explain gender differences in voting This provides a frame for looking at women s role in the politics now within a historical context By analyzing the differences in participation of men and women in such political activities as voting and membership in political groups we can begin to see if there is truth behind the beliefs held by many that women are less likely to participate in politics than men By controlling for gender differences we can see the ways in which marital status pride in America education and children could possibly in uence voting habits The data found in 2004 General Social Survey will be used for comparing these variables and how they interact to form the various relationships between gender and political participation Differences in Voting Habits In comparing the voting habits of men and women in the 2000 presidential Said M election it was found that 655 of women and 605 of men Koted see Figure 1 This relationship between sex and voting habits was found to be signi cant on the 05 level With this level of signi cance we must reject the null hypothesis that gender and voting habits are not related which lends credibility that ones participation in voting is dependent on their gender However this statistic represents an interesting comparison of the voting habits of men and women as related to the popular myth of men voting Figure 1 Voting Habits in 2000 Presidential Election N 2785 more than women This comparison of 2000 voting habits show that a higher percentage of women voted than men With this initial comparison of voting IVoted I mdnwm habits of men and women In 2000 we can begin looking further into what differences may exist when we consider such things as marital status children education party af liation and pride Relationship of Marriage and Voting Habits in the 2006 Congressional Elections winning the votes of unmarried women was a top priority of the Democratic Party On their website they stated quotOur rst goal is to reach the 20 million unmarried women who did not vote in 2004 because we know they are likely to vote Democratic 6 Steps to Victory on November 7 wwwdemocratsorg This statement leads to the assumption that unmarried women are less likely to vote than both married women as well as men In controlling for gender we can see in gure 2 that unmarried women were less likely to vote than married women however there were still a much higher percentage of unmarried women voting than unmarried men This again counters what popular beliefs have held about the differences in gender and voting habits This leads us to wonder why there is such an emphasis on getting unmarried women to vote when a lower percentage of unmarried men voted in 2000 When controlling for gender a chi Figure 2 Relationship of Marriage and Voting Habits in 2000 Voted in 2M0 Presidential Election Married Unmarried Men 779 491 N 1125 Women 740 613 N 1249 squared test shows that the relationship between voting habits and marital status proved to be one of the most signi cant relationships with a level of signi cance less than 001 Relationship of Education and Voting Habits While controlling for gender differences it was possible to see the ways in which ones level of education could affect voting habits The data was organized into those with less than a high school degree a high school degree or more than a high school degree For both men and women the highest percentage of those that voted in 2000 was found for those that had more than a high school degree while the lowest voter turnout occurred Figure 3 Relationship of Degree Level and Voting Habits in those wrth Voted in 2000 Presidential Election 39955 than a h399h Less Than High High More Than High School School School s h 39 degree Men 348 618 812 Women 456 696 801 When 39 k39quot9 at N 324 N 1288 N 961 the differences of men and women s voting habits for each degree level a higher percentage of women voted in each category supporting our initial analysis of a higher percentage of women voting in 2000 However the gender differences in voting habits were found to be signi cant for those with a high school and less than high school degree level gure 3 Through a chisquare test of these variables it is possible to see that gender has no in uence on the differences in voting habits of men and women with more than a high school degree For those with less than a high school degree the signi cance between gender and voting habits was found to be signi cant at the 005 level It is possible to say that education level does have an affect on the difference of voting habits in 2000 for those that have a high school degree The relationship between level of education and gender and their voting habits in 2000 was found to be signi cant on a 004 level for those with a high school degree This shows an interesting comparison between level of education and voting habits for men and women Through this analysis it is possible to say that there are no gender differences in voting habits for those with more than a high school degree This still leads to questions on why gender affects the voting habits of those with a high school degree or less and the same gender signi cance isn39t found in those with higher education Relationship of Voting Habits and Children While controlling for gender the differences in voting habits in 2000 were found to be signi cant only for those with novchildren For those respondents with no children 682 of women voted in 2000 compared to 584 of men F0 those with children 692 of males and 708 of females voted in 2000 094 This shows that a greater percentage of both men and women who have children voted in 2000 than those that Figure4 don39t have children Although a higher Relationship of No Children and Voting Habits percentage of respondents with children voted in 2000 there was not a signi cant IVotod DHWWM relationship between their gender and voting habits N 620 Level of Siani canoe 02 Con dence and Voting in 2000 Creating an index that measured respondent39s con dence in two branches the executive and legislative of the national government allows for adifferent type of relationship to be analyzed in the voting habits of men women in 2000 The index that was created combined con dence levels of respondents One is the greatest amount of con dence in these branches and six the least amount In comparing this index with respondent s gender and voting habits in 2000 and interesting occurrence became apparent both between genders as well as within each Women who voted in 2000 had more con dence in these branches of the government than males that voted However men who did not vote in 2000 actually had a greater amount of con dence in the government than those that did vote while the opposite relationship was true within the female respondents See Figure 5 Women who were found to vote more in 2000 compared to males actually do have more con dence in the legislative and executive branches of the US government Although the focus has been put on those that did vote in 2000 more signi cant is the differences between males and females that did not vote in the election Of those that did not vote males actually had more con dence in than the females that didn t vote as well as the most con dence out of both the respondents that did and didn t vote Although con dence levels do not seem to vary tremendously in that they all fell within the range of four the gender Figure 5 lowin ConfidenceA and Voting Habits I mix differences found in those that voted 4394 x and did not vote in 2000 and their Ln 42 lVotod IDldn39tVoto con dence in the government show an interesting perspective of what may 3399 Men Women contnbutlng to bnnging people to the N I no um um mm pm polls Relationship of Voting Habits and Pride in America From the 2004 General Social Science survey we were able to create an index that could represent the overall feeling of respondent39s pride in America The index used to make a comparison again controlling for the independent variable of gender between ones level of pride in America and voting habits includes three different measures of pride This index includes pride in how democracy works in America pride in America s political in uence in the world and pride in the fair and equal treatment of all groups in society These three variables can be combined easily to gain a better sense of how respondents feel about how America represents values on which it prides itself and how the current government is working to promote these values For this index of pride the value of 12 represents the greatest amount of pride while 0 corresponds with the lowest In comparing the pride of men and women men overall had a greater sense of pride in America When controlling for gender and looking at the relationship of pride and the respondents voting habits in 2000 it was found that men that voted had a signi cantly Vbigher amount of pride in America than women who voted 89 compared to 83 respectively Through a difference of means test it was found that this relationship had a level of signi cance of 001 A lower level of pride in America could be correlated to a more critical view of current administration showing an interesting relationship between the political views of men and women Differences in Other Political Participation To understand if women are really less politically active than men we must look at participation in things other than voting in elections There has been a historical construct in our society that characterizes women as less likely to be interested and active in politics than men It has been shown through the analysis of men and women s voting habits in 2000 that a higher percentage of women voted than men To understand if the differences in political participation lie in other realms we can look at the membership in political club as well as if respondents formally belong to a political party and the importance they give to always voting in elections Membership in Political Party and Gender Figure 5 To look further into the gender differences quotimbenmp 39quot POW 931 on that occur in political participation we analyzed the Bquot 9 B 39 quot9 Men 41 70 5830 relationship between men and women and their W0men 4260 5740 N 1468 No Level of Signi cance membership in a political party In comparing those that belong to a political party which measures membership not active participation between men and women it was found that women had a slightly higher percentage of membership in political parties In this comparison 426 of women and 417 of men belonged to a political party Figure 6 This same relationship was found for those that actively participated in these political parties just a much smaller percentage occurred However by not narrowing the comparison to those that actively participated in these groups we could test to see if these membership rates were signi cant to the respondent s gender Although women were more likely to belong to a political party the relationship between gender and this form of membership was not found to be signi cant Gender and Discussion amp Importance of Politics Other forms of political participation could be the importance given to voting in every election as well as the discussion of politics on a regular basis When looking at the relationship of these forms of political participation it was found that a higher percentage of women found it to be very important to vote in every election than men but discussed politics less often than their male counterparts When asked about the importance they gave to voting in every election 692 of women responded that it was very important to vote while 64 of males felt the same Figure 71 However when looking at how often the genders discussed politics 187 of males responded that they discuss politics often compared to only 132 of females Figure 72 Both of these relationships were found to be signi cant at the 05 level Through the comparisons of these two variables it is possible to see that there is no clear relationship that allows us to say one gender participates in politics over the other Figure 71 Importance of Voting In Elections Women Men I Not Important l Somewhat important CIVery Important Other Forms of Political Participation Figure 72 Discussion of Politics by Gender M M m m 1 N1457 S Often Sometimes Rarely Never Men 187 372 281 161 Women 132 364 325 180 N 1467 in looking at the discussion of politics a higher percentage of male respondents answered that they discuss politics often compared to female respondents This was contradicted however with more female respondents answering that voting in elections was always important By looking at these various activities that give some insight to political participation of the population other than voting we found that there is not a signi cant difference in that of men and women With the disproval of the research question we are now left to wonder why there has been so much media attention in recent news to the power of women s votes and how our society has constructed the view that women are less politically active than men As Jeff Manza and Clem Brooks did in the article that was used to frame this research we must look at the gender gap in political activity through historical contexts As new generations come to political age we must look at the societal contexts they grew up in and how these bigger social constructs will affect their political participation and the outcomes of future elections and how popular media portrays this difference Mass media attention and common beliefs have made women out to be less politically active than men Through the analysis of voting habits in 2000 as well as other forms of political participation such as respondent s membership in political groups the discussion of politics and the importance given to voting in elections it is possible to contradict this popular belief In the 2006 congressional election there was much emphasis put on winning women39s votes and the power that this demographic group would play in the election outcome With this in mind much analysis was given to the voting habits of men and women in the 2000 election The hypothesis was that men had a greater turnout in voting in 2000 than women giving reason for this year s attention However the opposite was found true a higher percentage of women voted in 2000 than males From this it was possible to see how education marital status children and con dence in the govemment had varying affects on voter turnout In all instances there were still a higher percentage of women voting than men These different variables caused various turnout rates within each gender but the same trend of more women voting more than men held true for all cases With the clear contradiction of the belief that more men were voting than women attention was turned to the belief that the gender gap must lie in other forms of political participation By looking at participation in political groupsclubs as well as discussion of politics and the importance given to voting I believed that we would nd men more inclined to this type of political activity than women However through analyzing gender with the variable mentioned previously there were no clear gender differences that could be drawn The relationship between gender and membership in a political group was found to be insigni cant which still gave a higher membership rate to women than men References Manza Jeff amp Brooks Clem March 1998The gender gap in US presidential elections When Why Implications In The American Journal of Sociology 103 p123532 Retrieved November 13 2006 from Expanded Academic ASAP via Thomson Gale http nd galeqroupcomitxinfomarkdoampcontentSet IAC