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Voters’ Attitudes and Party Positions Towards Gender Equality and LGBTIQ* Rights

Gender
Political Sociology
Feminism
Qualitative
Quantitative
Electoral Behaviour
Political Ideology
LGBTQI
P100
Melanie Dietz
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Magdalena Breyer
University of Zurich
Gefjon Off
University of Gothenburg

Building: Faculty of Social Science, Floor: Ground Floor, Room: FDV-13

Thursday 11:00 - 12:30 (07/07/2022)


Abstract

Gender-neutral language, women's quota, gender mainstreaming, debates on abortion, same-sex marriage, LGBTQI* rights – in recent years, new tensions have flared up regarding the recognition of non-heteronormative forms of identity and life (sexual diversity) as well as the demand for (further) gender equality measures for women (gender equality). This development is characterised by increasing polarisation, which is driven by anti-feminist radical right and extremist parties on the one hand and feminist movements and left-wing parties on the other hand. The radical right rejects any social drafts that go beyond a heteronormative understanding of gender and sexuality and support equality measures between women and men only to a certain extent. As traditional and conservative values increasingly collide with left, progressive and egalitarian values, gender-related issues have become a revived arena for political contestation. While recent research demonstrates a significant role of sexist attitudes in the US 2016 presidential election, little systematic research has been done on the role of voters’ attitudes and parties’ positions on gender-related issues in European contexts. Yet, the recent increase in academic interest in the role of anti-feminism in radical right parties demonstrates the need for such systematic research. That being said, it is especially relevant to consider the changing nature of anti-feminism and resistance to gender equality and LGBTQI* rights from more traditional forms towards modern sexism, homo- and femonationalism. This panel brings together papers that aim to fill these gaps in research by focusing on the European context. The papers address attitudes towards gender equality and LGBTQI* rights among the voters of different party families, as well as how parties from different party families position themselves on these issues, both historically and in more recent time periods. Additionally, we are interested in the consequences but also the roots of public opinion and party position shifts on these topics over time. Furthermore, the papers bring together different methods, including a survey experiment, quantitative text analysis and an interview study, taking complementary approaches to address the research gaps. In line with this, we welcome papers with various methodological approaches and especially encourage multi-method, experimental and quantitative text analysis innovations. We welcome single and comparative case studies from European cases and beyond. By bringing together papers that conduct systematic research on gender-related issues in the demand- and supply-side of voting behaviour, we aim to show the relevance of these issues in the political sphere. Overall, the insights of this panel can help us understand how gender and LGBTQI* issues are politicized in political party competition in European countries, especially by mainstream right and radical right parties, and what relevance voters assign to these issues. The findings also show that a contestation of gender equality and LGBTQI* rights can have far-reaching consequences and effects on other research areas. Conflicting attitudes on gender-related issues can challenge human rights, the welfare state and its policies and at the same time can have a divisive effect on social cohesion. This illustrates that studying gender-related issues in electoral research is anything but trivial.

Title Details
Gender Equality, Sexual Diversity and Vote Choice: One and the Same Gender Issue? View Paper Details
Policy and Personal Valence: Party Leaders and Gendered Electoral Environments View Paper Details
Are Shifting Gender Relations Perceived as a Social Status Threat? Experimental Evidence on the Effect of Perceptions of Gender Equality on Political Attitudes View Paper Details
Conservatism with a Potential for Anti-Feminist Mobilization: Using Interviews to Understand AfD Voters’ Gender Values in Post-Communist East Germany View Paper Details