Pacific Men: How the Feminist Gap Explains Hostility

Authored by: Elin Bjarnegård & Erik Melander.

Categories: Violent Conflict
Country: China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States of America
Region: No Region
Year: 2017
Citation: Bjarnegård, Elin & Erik Melander. Pacific men: how the feminist gap explains hostility, The Pacific Review, 30:4, (2017), 478-493.

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The gender gap in attitudes to foreign policy is well established in public opinion literature. Studies have repeatedly reported that women tend to be more peaceful and less militaristic than men. This article reexamines attitudes of individuals in relation to foreign policy and pits the gender gap against the largely forgotten feminist gap. We argue that the individual-level relationship between gender equality attitudes on the one hand, and tolerance and benevolence on the other, is under-researched, but also that key contributions about the effects of feminism have been mostly ignored in research on the gender gap in public opinion. We return to the notion of a causal relationship between gender equality attitudes, and peaceful attitudes, and of a feminist gap that also exists among men. In a series of novel empirical tests, we demonstrate that attitudes to gender equality, not biological sex, explain attitudes towards other nationalities and religious groups. Using individual-level survey data from five countries around the Pacific: China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States of America, we show that both men and women who reject gender equality are much more hostile both to other nations and to minorities in their own country.