Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Women Know

I've blogged before about research that attempts to explain why women consistently do less well on tests of political knowledge than men. There's a new study in Political Behavior that takes another stab at the question.  This one finds much of the difference can be explained in differences between men and women in the strongest predictors of political knowledge, such as education.

Beyond that, the author also looks at belonging to groups and how differences might emerge between men and women.  It's kinda neat and something I've never given any thought to.  The author notes:
Perhaps the more intriguing finding is that group membership affects the acquisition of political knowledge differently for men and women. Women clearly benefit from belonging to groups in ways that men do not. This suggests there are important, gender-based, differences in the effects of social setting and environment on civic engagement.
I also found it interesting that buried in a table is a significant effect on number of children, depending on the sex of the respondent.  For women, more children equals a lower political knowledge score.  For men, there is no statistically significant relationship.  It's hardly surprising given who does the heavy lifting in the home, especially with the kids, but I'd never seen that one before in an analysis.  Fun area to explore.

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