Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2002

Department

Political Science

Abstract

Is there a distinct “woman’s perspective?” This paper argues that the answer is an emphatic yes. American National Election Study survey data are used to explore Republican and conservative women’s attitudes concerning social spending issues and religiosity. Most of the previous gender gap research focuses on gender differences in attitudes by examining gender shifts in political party identification and voting, but do not adequately address opinion differences along gender lines between groups that think of themselves as similar. This paper asserts that if men and women who classify themselves as both conservative and Republican exhibit distinct differences, evidence of a “woman’s perspective” is more convincing because the expectation is that there would be more similarity within these groups. Inferential statistical methods indicate that Republican and conservative women favor social spending more than men. Women also exhibit higher levels of religiosity. Furthermore, it is theoretically suggested that these differences manifest a diverging conceptualization of conservatism, with men viewing conservatism in economic terms while women conceptualize it in religiously based terms, resulting in the actualized behavior of value-based voting.

Original Publication Information

This article was published in Critique, Fall issue, in 2002. It was also presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA, March 27-30, 2002.

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