Gender Gap or Gender Differences? Gender and Political Participation in Canada


  • Nicole Houle MacEwan University


Unequal participation in certain types of political engagement creates unequal influence on political and civil matters (Boulianne, 2022). Studies find that men and women tend to do a similar amount of political participation, with women engaging in more private and flexible forms, and men participating in more direct and collective forms (Bode, 2017; Coffé & Bolzendahl, 2010; Van Duyn et al., 2019; Pfanzelt & Spies, 2019). However, more data is needed when considering Canadian trends, especially when it comes to the causes of these trends. In this study, I conduct statistical analysis of secondary data from a February 2021 Canadian survey (n=1568) designed by Dr. Shelley Boulianne. I determine which forms of political participation have gendered participation gaps and whether or not these are related to conflict avoidance tendencies and having political female role models. I find few gender differences in political participation. Some small gender differences persist in online forms of political participation, such as signing petitions online and commenting on news sites. Men were more likely post comments on news sites, compared to women; women more likely to sign online petitions, compared to men. As such, political participation moves online, the gender gap may be reproducing itself in online spaces.

Keywords: gender; political participation; socialization; conflict-avoidance; role models

Department: Sociology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Shelley Boulianne