The ‘gender gap’ refers to the different voting patterns of men and women found in all modern elections, although the gap narrows or widens at each election as voters respond to different candidates and issues. In elections, the Republican Party receives a majority of votes from men, and the Democratic Party a majority of votes from women, and more women than men turn out to vote. This links to the ideologies and policies of both parties being more or less attractive to the different genders.
Of course, apart from gender, all voters have other characteristics. Men and women may have different incomes, races, religions or live in different regions. However, the evidence suggests that gender is a significant factor and female voters are more likely to vote Democrat for several reasons. Firstly, there are moral issues addressed in elections that women may respond to. The Democrat Party are more ‘pro-choice’ on abortion, more pro-gun control and anti-death penalty. Men are likely to vote Republican in favour of these simply due to their personality.
Furthermore, the Democrats place more emphasis on health, education and welfare issues and policies regarding childcare. Stereotypically women naturally respond to these views due to their traditional role as mothers and more caring nature. In addition to this, women are more environmentally aware, desiring an more regulation. In contrast to this, male nature is stereotypically more aggressive which is suited by the Republican social conservatism and views on foreign policy as well as the Republican stance on moral issues. Men also respond to the Republican emphasis on lowering taxes.
In conclusion, the gender gap is the gap between the support given to a candidate by women and the support given to the same candidate by men. The reason for the gender gap is often thought to be connected with the policy differences between the two parties and this was especially noticeable in the presidential elections of 1992 and 1996. After all, it was the Democrats who pushed – albeit unsuccessfully – for an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution protecting the civil rights of women.