Investigating the Origins of the Gender Gap in Support for War

Lizotte, Mary-Kate
May 2019
Political Studies Review;May2019, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p124
Academic Journal
Gender is an important source of influence on foreign policy attitudes but has received less research attention than it deserves. In the United States, gender differences on support for military interventions average around 8 percent, with women less likely than men to support the use of force. This gap has surfaced in many conflicts, including World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, through to the Gulf War and the conflict in Iraq. The existence of a modest though persistent gender difference in support of the use of military force thus arouses considerable interest among political researchers. This piece critically discusses four explanations, the empirical evidence to date, and future directions for studying and testing the origins of this gender gap. The four explanations are economic/political marginalization, feminist identity, Social Role Theory, and value differences.


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