The Gendered Effects of Violence on Political Engagement

Authored by: Dino Hadzic and Margit Tavits

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation
Country: Bosnia
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2019
Citation: Dino Hadzic and Margit Tavits, "The Gendered Effects of Violence on Political Engagement," The Journal of Politics 81, no. 2 (April 2019).

Access the Resource:


How does civil conflict affect political engagement? As violence of various forms—from war to terrorism—is becoming more frequent even in the developed world, understanding its political consequences is a pressing concern. The authors argue that violence makes citizens view politics as more combative and aggressive. Because the traits that align with these perceptions (e.g., dominance, aggressiveness, decisiveness) are associated more with masculinity than femininity, the authors hypothesize that violence increases engagement among men while reducing it among women. To test this argument, they conduct an experiment in Bosnia, the site of a major ethnic civil war in 1992–95. The evidence confirms that past violence, when made salient, leads women to express significantly less and men significantly more desire to engage in politics. They conclude from these findings that violent conflict can introduce disparities in political engagement across gender, underscoring a significant challenge policymakers face in post-conflict societies.