Explaining Cross-National Variation in the Climate Change Concern Gender Gap: A Research Note


Knight, Kyle W. 2019. "Explaining Cross-National Variation in the Climate Change Concern Gender Gap: A Research Note." The Social Science Journal 56 (4): 627-39.

Author: Kyle W. Knight


Previous research has documented and investigated the gender gap in climate change concern (and environmental concern more generally) in the USA to understand why women tend to be more concerned about this issue than men. However, a largely missing element of the existing research on this topic is the role of macro-level context. The consideration of contextual factors is important because, as shown in this study, aggregate gender differences in climate change concern vary widely across countries. Drawing on prior research and using data from three international surveys, this cross-national study examines the influence of gender equality, climate change vulnerability, and national affluence on gender gaps in concern for climate change. Results from OLS and robust regression analyses indicate that national affluence is consistently associated with a larger gap (with women more concerned) and there is some evidence showing that climate change vulnerability is associated with a smaller gap in concern; however, gender equality was not found to be a consistent significant predictor of the gender gap in climate change concern (although in bivariate correlations it was significant and positive). The finding that the USA pattern of substantially higher concern among women is not universal across countries, but rather is context-specific, opens up new directions for theorizing about how gender shapes concern for climate change and, more broadly, risk perception and environmental attitudes. Future research should build on this study to examine potential pathways linking macro-level context to gender differences in climate change concern at the individual level.

Keywords: climate change, public opinion, gender gap, cross-national

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality

Year: 2019

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