Tracing the Gender Gap in Public Support for European Membership

    • IMG_7703
    • Presentation speakers
      • Gitta Glüpker-Kesebir, Koc University, Turkey


    Why do women and men think differently about the European Union? Research on public support for European integration often shows that women tend to be more sceptical about European integration than men. However, the roots of this “gender gap” remain widely unexplored. This disregards the fact that the gap’s size is often large enough as to play a role for the design of policies and electoral campaigns in an increasingly politicized European Union. In other policy areas, such as national elections, partisanship or policy preferences, the “gender gap” in public opinion has been acknowledged for decades. Studies have suggested that material differences, gender-specific socialization, different psychological orientations or even genes may explain why gender often turns out to be significant in survey analyses despite the control for other conditions. Eurobarometer surveys from 1995 to 2012 which cover the EU member states and the candidate countries Island, Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey, are used to demonstrate that the gender gap in the EU varies significantly across countries. Moreover, gender gaps in individual countries have displayed great variance over this 16 year period. On the basis of the public opinion research on the EU and on studies on gender gaps in other policy areas, I develop a theoretical framework which is designed to identify the roots of the gender gap. Based on this framework and the exploration of Eurobarometer surveys, I argue that some determinants of public opinion are suitable to indicate whether men and women differ in their assessments of the European Union on utilitarian or on sociological grounds. The preliminary results of my analyses indicate that material conditions and gender-specific socialization of men and women both play a role for the gender gap in public opinion on the EU.