Conventional political wisdom says that women are less interested and engaged in politics than men. In this lecture, Prof Hilde Coffé will argue that this story is incomplete . More accurately, women engage differently than men, and women are interested in different policy issues than men. For example, though women are less likely to demonstrate, attend political meetings, contact a politician or be a party member than men, they are more likely to sign a petition, boycott products for ethical reasons, and donate funds.
Furthermore, while men are more likely to be interested in national and international issues than women, women tend to be more interested in local issues than men. Prof Coffé will discuss her past and ongoing research on gender differences in political engagement and interest to shed light on how and why women and men participate differently and are interested in different political issues. This will show how a move away from discussions on overall gender “gaps” towards a focus on qualitative “differences” between women and men’s participation patterns helps to gain a better understanding of the functioning of democracy.
Hilde Coffé has been Professor in Politics at the University of Bath since September 2018. She previously held positions at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), Utrecht University and Victoria University of Wellington. She has also been a visiting scholar at various institutions, including the University of California Berkeley and Irvine, the University of Sydney, the Åbo Akademi University and the Leuphana University of Lüneburg.
Her main research interests include political behaviour, public opinion, political representation, and gender and politics. Her work has been published in leading Political Science and Sociology journals, including the British Journal of Sociology, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Politics and Gender, and the European Sociological Review.