Gender Role and Political Office: Effects of Perceived Masculinity/Femininity of Candidate and Political Office


Rosenwasser, S.M. and Norma Dean. 1989. “Gender Role and Political Office: Effects of Perceived Masculinity/Femininity of Candidate and Political Office.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 13 (1). 

Authors: S.M. Rosenwasser, Norma Dean


Women are less represented in prestigious national political offices than they are in state and local offices. How this underrepresentation may be related to perceived characteristics of office and candidate are explored in the two studies described here. In Study 1, the “masculinity/femininity” of local, state, and national offices was analyzed; all levels of office were rated as more “masculine” than “feminine.” In Study 2, the sex as well as the gender role of a hypothetical presidential candidate was varied. “Masculine” and male candidates were evaluated as being more competent on presidential tasks such as dealing with terrorism; “feminine” and female candidates were rated higher on tasks such as solving problems in our educational system. Men, regardless of gender role, were perceived as being more likely to win a presidential election, and “masculine” tasks were evaluated as being more important than “feminine” presidential tasks. Implications for future female politicians are discussed.

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Elections, Political Participation Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 1989

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