The activation of political gender stereotypes: an experimental test of the effect of the information environment on the use of political gender stereotypes in Flanders. (3E004620)
The position of women in politics has captured the attention of scholars for decades. Also today, women continue to face difficulties when penetrating this male-dominated domain. Gender stereotypes are one of the factors impeding womenU+2019s entrance in politics. By investigating the conditions under which political gender stereotypes are activated in votersU+2019 minds, this project moves beyond a description of the presence of these stereotypes and provides as such a major contribution to this field of research. Stereotype reliance is not an automatic process, but rather a contextually dependent process. A critical implication following from this argument is that stereotypes can be applied to votersU+2019 evaluation of political candidates, even when they seem to be absent at first sight.The impact of three elements of the information environment (consisting of contextual elements and candidate characteristics that could activate stereotypes) will be explored: the number of women in politics, the kind of policy issues that are salient and the candidatesU+2019 policy positions. The main research questions will be answered on the basis of innovative experimental research designs, which allow for more of the nuance of real-world elections to enter the experimental environment. Hence, the proposed methodological approach will lead to a coherent snapshot of the role of gender in votersU+2019 evaluations of political candidates.