The rise and decline of "gender gaps" in support for military action: United States, 1986-2011

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In the past several decades, many scholars of public opinion in the United States have argued that American women are less likely than American men to endorse military action as a means to deal with international problems. Evidence for this "gender gap" has been found in studies of public opinion during major international conflicts (Bendyna et al. 1996; Wilcox, Ferrara, and Allsop 1993), as well as studies of longitudinal trends that examined pooled data sets from multiple conflict periods (Berinsky 2009; Burris 2008; Fite, Genest, and Wilcox 1990; Shapiro and Mahajan 1986). Researchers sometimes view men's generally greater rates of support for military actions as part of a more general "gender gap" phenomenon in U.S. politics, but the cumulative evidence has suggested that foreign policy issues and questions of peace/ war generate the widest and most consistent gender gaps (see Holsti 2004, 209-10 for a review).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-655
Number of pages38
JournalPolitics and Gender
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association, 2017.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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