Values and Political ConsequencesMary-Kate Lizotte
In this era in which more women are running for public office—and when there is increased activism among women—understanding gender differences on political issues has become critical. In her cogent study, Mary-Kate Lizotte argues that assessing the gender gap in public
support for policies through a values lens provides insight into American politics today. There is ample evidence that men and women differ in their value endorsements—even when taking into account factors such as education, class, race, income, and party identification.
In Gender Differences in Public Opinion, Lizotte utilizes nationally representative data, mainly from the American National Election Study, to study these gender gaps, the explanatory power of values, and the political consequences of these differences. She examines the gender differences in several policy areas such as equal rights, gun control, the death penalty, and the environment, as well as social welfare issues. The result is an insightful and revealing study of how men and women vary in their policy positions and political attitudes.
“ In Gender Differences in Public Opinion , Mary-Kate Lizotte has produced a clear, thorough, and original examination of the roots of the gender gap in American public opinion. Her consideration of the role of values—egalitarianism, universalism, and benevolence—in the policy positions of women and men offers a fresh take on the conventional wisdom around the gender gap. She considers a wide range of important domestic and international issues, identifying when and why women and men take distinctive positions, and, just as importantly, when they don’t. Scholars of public opinion, policy, and gender will learn a lot from this interesting work.”—Kathleen Dolan, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and author of When Does Gender Matter?: Women Candidates and Gender Stereotypes in American Elections
“ Mary-Kate Lizotte is reinvigorating a conversation that has been muted for too long. The first 'gender gap,' brought to light by Kathy Frankovic after the 1980 elections, is approaching its 40th birthday, but it, and its consequences, are still not easily understood. Lizotte’s thoughtful examination of pro-social values as a possible driver of the gender gap in voting behavior and policy preferences could not be a more timely contribution to our understanding of sex, gender, and politics in these challenging times.”—Sue Tolleson-Rinehart, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of Gender Consciousness and Politics
"Lizotte makes a contribution to the field by centering the role of values within her analysis of the gender gap in public opinion…. This book is likely to be of considerable interest in political campaigns interested in retaining or enhancing their share of women voters. For political scientists interested in the gender gap in public opinion this book provides direction to another avenue for exploration of the factors that mediate the gender gap…. If Lizotte’s thesis holds true, the future of American politics will not just be female, it will be values-led.
—Journal of Political Power
"Gender Differences in Public Opinion makes a meaningful contribution to the literature…. Lizotte offers a theoretical framework for the development of gender gaps that transcends the piecemeal approach to explaining them that characterizes much of the scholarly literature on this topic…. This book makes a very clear theoretical and empirical contribution to an area of research that, despite its electoral importance, receives relatively little scholarly attention."
—Perspective on Politics
" While the analyses presented in this book are sophisticated, Lizotte explains them in such a clear way that they can be understood by non-academics including undergraduate students in public opinion as well as gender and politics courses.... This book makes a strong theoretical contribution to our understandings of the ways gender shapes politics and the formation of political attitudes. It is also a powerful argument for why it is so important to have government leaders and elected officials who are reflective of the gender diversity in the country.... (T)his book provides powerful insights into the underlying values-based differences in the ways women and men view the world including policy issues."
—Women, Politic, & Policy
" Lizotte provides a nuanced understanding of gender gaps across multiple policy areas, adding to prior scholarship that has at times painted 'the gender gap' as a monolithic concept. Second, the book offers a novel explanation for gender differences in public opinion by pointing to values as a mediating factor.... Third, Lizotte offers a compelling examination of the consequences of gender differences in policy preferences.... (The book) will stir important conversations."
—Gender and Society