GENDER STEREOTYPING IN THE PERCEPTION OF POLITICAL CANDIDATES: EXPERIMENTAL STUDY ON SLOVAK HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENTS

Matej Uhlík, Samuel Spáč

Abstract


The issue of gender stereotyping of political candidates has been substantially researched in Western developed democracies (e.g. Sapiro 1982, Huddy and Terkildsen 1993, Kahn 1994, Matland 1994, Aalberg and Jenssen 2007), yet under- researched in the context of new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. Evidence in previous research suggests a certain discrepancy between attitudes toward the equal perception of political candidates that are explicitly articulated in surveys and the latent ones examined in experimental research. The purpose of this paper is to confront the existing literature with post-communist context found in Slovakia. During the communist regime, women were generally portrayed as practically equal in most areas of social life, which contrasts with conservative attitudes continuously present in the Slovak society. Additionally, Slovakia has had a recent experience with the female prime minister as Iveta Radičová served in this position between 2010 and 2012 as the head of a short-lived government. For the empirical part of the paper, we build on experimental designs utilized in existing literature. The data were collected through questionnaires among high- school students in Slovakia in which they were exposed to one of two versions of the same political speech including both explicit and implicit information about candidate’s gender, which served as the treatment variable. Subsequently, the data were analyzed using hierarchical statistical models hypothesizing the effect of candidate’s gender on the perception of his/her competence. The paper aims to fill the gap in the research of latent gender stereotyping of political candidates in Central and Eastern European countries.

Keywords


political representation, gender stereotypes, experimental design, hierarchical models

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21533/isjss.v3i1.105

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