Tracing the origins of the gender gap in political interest: a dynamic approach.

Marta Fraile (European University Insisute i CSIC)

28th septembre 2017, 10:3’h, ICPS (Carrer Mallorca 244, Barcelona, Metro Diagonal, FGC Provença)
In spite of recent advances in the levels of gender equality in political representation and the availability of resources, this paper shows that there is a persistent gender gap in political interest throughout the life course of individuals. Using evidence from the British Household Panel Survey, we examine how the gender gap originates and develops. We find that most of this gender gap is already present amongst respondents at age fifteen, pointing to gendered socialization processes as the first explanatory mechanism. In the following ten years, as they transition to adulthood and become politically involved, the gender gap continues to grow. After these formative years, attitudes crystallize and so does the gender gap, remaining at the same size over the life course. Focusing on the role of parenthood, we find that it performs a minor yet illustrative part on the gender gap. Although the effect is relatively small, it further hinders mothers’ political interest while it shows no effect on that of fathers’.