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The Influence of Gender Stereotypes on Politicians' Behaviour and Voter Attitudes

Hargrave, Lotte; (2022) The Influence of Gender Stereotypes on Politicians' Behaviour and Voter Attitudes. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Do politicians behave in accordance with gender stereotypes? Does the pressure to do so shift by context and over time? Do voters uphold these stereotypes when they perceive and evaluate politicians' behaviour? Focusing on elites and voters in the United Kingdom, this thesis addresses these questions in three papers. The first paper analyses whether politicians express behavioural styles that are consistent with stereotypes, and how the pressure to do so may have diminished over time. I describe novel quantitative text analysis approaches to measure styles in parliamentary debates between 1997 and 2019 and show that women's styles have changed substantially over time, as they have increasingly adopted styles congruent with "masculine" stereotypes. The second paper investigates whether there are gender differences in the sets of issues that politicians raise, whether women do more to raise women's concerns and experiences across the policy process more broadly, and how the incentive to do so changes with increased political experience. Using quantitative text analysis techniques to measure the issues politicians raise, I find that, among junior politicians, women talk significantly more about stereotypically "feminine" issue areas, but also that this gender gap decreases markedly with increased seniority. However, women continue to refer to women's experiences in a wide range of issue areas throughout their careers. The third paper evaluates whether the styles politicians use influence how voters evaluate them, and whether this matters more for women than it does for men. In a novel survey experiment, I manipulate politician gender and argument style and find that style usage has important consequences for how voters evaluate politicians, but that the effects of style are not conditional on politician gender. Taken together, this thesis provides important theoretical arguments and empirical evidence concerning the dynamic validity of stereotypes in informing elite and voter behaviour in the UK.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Influence of Gender Stereotypes on Politicians' Behaviour and Voter Attitudes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: Gender, stereotypes, text-as-data, legislative politics, representative, survey experiment, politics, british politics, political behaviour, political communication
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10157797
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