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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Gender Gap in Citizenship Norms? The Importance of Political, Civil and Social Rights and Responsibilities


Previous research suggests that men are more engaged in, knowledgeable about, and interested in citizenship compared to women. Yet, little is known about gender cleavages in citizenship norms. Do men and women simply define citizenship differently? To address that question, this study looks at citizenship norms using 2004 ISSP data among 18 Western, industrialized nations. Our results suggest the utility of a disaggregated approach to understanding definitions of citizenship. Among beliefs about citizenship responsibilities and rights, we examine political, civil, and social norms. After controlling for a variety of demographic and attitudinal influences, we find no difference in men and women’s political norms. When it comes to civil and social norms however, women view these responsibilities and rights as significantly more important than men.

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