Introduction xvii Put differently, once women receive a formal education and enter the workforce, they are more likely to participate in politics. The authors con- clude that the closing of the gender gap in political participation in indus- trialized countries is because women have made important gains in education and entered professional careers. In the United States, several studies have also shown that women become more interested and engaged in politics as the number of women in offices increases (Campbell and Wolbrecht 2006 Reingold and Harrell 2010). We now know that women’s political engagement is different from that of men, but do women also vote for different parties than men? The answer is yes. When it comes to voters’ preferences, we can differentiate between a traditional and a modern gender gap. A traditional gender gap exists when more women than men support conservative parties. The traditional gender gap was particularly pronounced after women gained suffrage in the first part of the twentieth century, when women and conservative par- ties shared religious and traditional family values (Norris and Inglehart 2001). The modern gender gap—when more women than men vote for parties on the left—did not emerge until the 1980s. The 1960s–1970s wit- nessed societal upheaval, including the rise of the women’s liberation movement. During this time, women graduated from college and entered the workforce in greater numbers. For the first time, the pill allowed women to limit the number of children that they would bear and space the timing of their children to match with their educational and career aspira- tions. With increased education levels and independent streams of income, divorce became more common and acceptable, as women were no longer financially dependent on a husband. Young people decided to live together without getting married and postponed having children or had children outside of marriage. At the same time, religious attachment and church membership started to decline, making changes in gender roles and rela- tions more societally acceptable. The women’s liberation movement of the 1970s and all accompanying societal changes ultimately expressed them- selves in the emergence of a modern gender gap, where women aligned themselves more closely with parties on the left, which support women’s equality and progressive gender roles, while rejecting the traditional fam- ily and religious values of parties on the right, which women used to support. The modern gender gap is largely driven by economic development and changes in societal attitudes that have led to more progressive gender roles. Thus, in countries with less advanced economies and a more traditional
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