Gender Stereotypes, Political Leadership, and Voting Behavior in Tunisia
Although female political representation in the Arab world has nearly doubled in the last decade, little is known about how voters in the region view female politicians and their political platforms, particularly in a new democracy like Tunisia. We conduct original conjoint and vignette survey experiments to examine the effects of candidate gender and gender- and leadership-congruent political platforms on voter support. Building on role congruity theory, we find evidence of bias against female candidates among voters, particularly among respondents who hold patriarchal gender norms. Additionally, we find that all respondents are more likely to prefer candidates who emphasize security issues rather than women’s rights. Overall, our study suggests that female candidates who emphasize issues congruent with stereotypes of political leadership, such as security, can increase voter support, though respondents also reward male candidates who appeal to leadership congruent issues.
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