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The gender gap toward foreign policy : a cross-national study Warner, Dorothy Alison

Abstract

For several decades public opinion researchers have identified differences in women's and men's attitudes toward specific policy issues One of the most controversial gender gaps is toward foreign policy and defence issues. This investigation has two objectives. First, to examine and compare gender difference in attitudes toward foreign policy in Canada, the United States and Britain over four decades to determine if a gap actually exists and whether or not it has changed over time. Second, to examine competing explanations for the gender gap discussed by feminist International Relations scholars. These include: women's role as care giver; structural constraints such as women's traditionally lower socio-economic status; and gender consciousness expressed mainly through the impact of the feminist movement. The findings of this investigation suggest that a gender gap exists between women and men in attitudes toward force and violence, not foreign policy in general. This gap remains stable over time in both the U.S. and Canada. In Britain the gender gap increases from the 1980s to the 1990s, but this is because men's attitudes have changed. The gap is not easily explained. The presence of children in the home partially accounts for the gap in the U.S. and Britain, and gender consciousness partially accounts for the gap in Canada.

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