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Completed project

A Comparative Study of Gender Attitudes

Project period 2003 - 2007
Project nr. 418.025

Johannes Bergh’s Ph.D.-project is a study of attitudes toward gender equality and gender relations in a comparative perspective. It has two overreaching research questions: 1) what explains variation in gender attitudes at the individual level and between countries? 2) What is the effect of gender attitudes on voting? The analyses in this project consist, for the most part, of statistical analyses of survey data. Bergh uses a wide variety of data for that purpose, such as the Norwegian Citizenship Survey of 2000; the American National Election Studies, and General Social Surveys; the World Values Surveys; as well as some of the European surveys known as "Eurobarometers”. Bergh has written two papers, as part of this project. Both are intended for publication: “Gender Attitudes and Modernization Processes”. This paper aims to explain variation in gender attitudes by use of two competing hypotheses drawn from the literature on “modernization”. The first of these explain gender attitudes by structural factors such as education and female labor participation, the other argues that the degree of value-change in postindustrial societies can account for variation in gender attitudes. The structural explanation is better able to explain gender attitudes in all 19 countries in the analysis. A hypothesis that values have a stronger effect in countries with higher levels of development finds no support. “Explaining the Gender Gap”. Most Western democratic societies have seen a gender gap in voting in the last 10-20 years, in the sense that women are overrepresented among voters on the political left, while men are in the majority on the right. A substantial research tradition within political science has tried to explain this phenomenon, but has not succeeded in finding explanations that are valid across countries. By combining several explanations from the literature, Bergh outlines a model that is able to fully explain the gender gap in different countries. He tests the model in three countries: the United States, the Netherlands, and Norway. A large part of the gender gap in the US and Norway is explained by men and women’s differing degree of “feminist consciousness”.


Johannes Bergh PhD Senior Research Fellow +47 943 88 242 Send e-mail
Published June 24, 2008 3:31 PM