A longitudinal analysis of gendered patterns in political action in France: a generational story?

Abstract

This article asserts that the impact of generational replacement on gendered political participation patterns is not sufficiently taken into account by existing analyses of participatory gender inequalities. In this longitudinal study, gender and generational differences in French protest patterns are systematically examined. The article tackles two interrelated questions: what is the impact of generational replacement on gender differences in political action in France, and from an individual-level perspective, how do we explain the different participation levels from different generations of women and men? A longitudinal quantitative analysis of survey data from the European Values Study from 1981 to 2008 confirms the significance of generational differences as well as the multi-dimensionality of participatory gender differences.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Past research has shown that these different political acts do not build a uniform dimension in every country (Teorell et al. 2007a). This justifies the choice of this article not to integrate all three items into an overall scale of non-institutional political participation.

  2. 2.

    In view of the reported variance in forms and sizes of participatory gender inequalities, this article refrains from using the term “gender gap”. More importantly, it questions its analytical usefulness. The term “gender gap” not only omits the fact that women tend to participate differently than men but it is also a “catch-all term” that stands for many other gendered patterns of political behaviours or attitudes as well as economic inequalities between women and men.

  3. 3.

    In comparison, the European Social Survey started only in 2002 and, thus, covers a too short time period for our analyses (2002–2014).

  4. 4.

    Two exceptions with regard to cutting points had to be made for the first (1930 and before) and last birth cohort (1971 and after). In their case, any smaller regrouping was problematic in terms of numbers of respondents. The number of respondents from birth cohorts 1910–1920 was already very small in 1990, and the same applies of course in an inverse sense for the cohort 1980–1990.

  5. 5.

    Due to lack of space, results for the “would never do category” are not shown but available on request.

  6. 6.

    This has been tested by using the same regression models but not separating for women and men and introducing the variable gender instead (results not shown).

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Camille Kelbel, Clément Boisseuil as well as the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Anja Durovic.

Appendix

Appendix

Variable Description Range
Sex Sex of respondent is used as a proxy for gender since the EVS does not ask respondents about their gender:
(1) “female
(0) “male”
0 (min.)–1 (max.)
Education “age when education completed”
(1) “14 years and less”
(2) “15–17 years”
(3) “18–20 years”
(4) “21 years and more”
1 (min.)–4 (max.)
Type of occupation (1) “self-employed”
(2) “higher management”
(3) “employees”
(4) “workers”
(5) regrouping all groups which are not in the labour market
1 (min.)–5 (max.)
Political discussions Used as a proxy for the individual degree of politicisation
The EVS asks respondents whether they discuss:
(1) “frequently”, (2) “occasionally” or (3) “never” matters of politics with friends and colleagues
Variable has been recorded so that higher values indicate a higher frequency of political discussions
1 (min.)–3 (max.)
Ideological self-placement on left–right scale Used as a second proxy of the degree of individual politicisation
EVS asks its respondent to place their political views on a scale that goes from 1 (very left)–10 (very right)
Recoded into three categories: 1–4 “left leaning”, 6–10 “right leaning” and “undecided” 5 plus all respondents who answered “don’t know”
1 (min.)–3 (max.)
Religiousness A dummy variable out of two measures was created
The first question asks respondents whether they belong to a religious denomination
The second question asks if the person considers him/herself as a religious person
The variable indicates (1) when someone belongs to a religious denomination or describes himself as religious; (0) stands for people who do not belong to a religious denomination or describe themselves as not religious
0 (min.)–1 (max.)
Postmaterialist values Postmaterialist values are measured by the EVS’s 4-item scale on postmaterialism:
There is a lot of talk these days about what the aims of this country should be for the next ten years. On this card are listed some of the goals which different people would give top priority. If you had to choose, which of the things on this card would you say is most important? And which would be the next most important? 1) Maintaining order in the nation; 2) giving people more say in important government decisions 3) fighting rising prices; 4) protecting freedom of speech
If a person chose twice the same materialistic (1/1 or 3/3) or postmaterialistic (2/2 or 4/4) aim, he or she was coded as materialistic (1) or postmaterialist (3) person. Otherwise they were designated as “mixed” (2)
1 (min.)–3 (max.)

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Durovic, A. A longitudinal analysis of gendered patterns in political action in France: a generational story?. Fr Polit 15, 418–442 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41253-017-0039-4

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Keywords

  • Inequality
  • Political participation
  • Gender gap
  • Generational change