, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 367-388

Gender-Related Political Knowledge and the Descriptive Representation of Women

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Abstract

Past scholarship has documented that women tend to know less about politics than men. This study finds that political knowledge of one kind—knowledge about the actual level of women's representation—is related to support for having more women in office. Individuals who underestimate the percentage of women in office are more likely than individuals who know the correct percentage to support increasing women's representation. Meanwhile, individuals who overestimate the percentage of women in office are less likely to support increasing women's representation. Ironically, women are more likely than men to overestimate the presence of women in office. I also find that gender predicts support for having more women in office, with women more supportive than men. Women would be even more supportive of electing more women to office if they were as knowledgeable as men about the extent of women's underrepresentation.