Previous studies suggest that patriarchal structures and rigid gender hierarchies at the societal level increase a country's propensity for involvement in violent social and political conflict. While examining macrolevel predictors and outcomes, the arguments put forth in these studies rely heavily on theories linking individuals' attitudes toward gender equality to individuals' beliefs in the appropriateness of violence as a means of attaining political or social objectives. In this research, we explore the microfoundations of the gender equality-peace thesis by examining the conditional impact of beliefs about gender egalitarianism on support for the use of force to achieve foreign policy objectives. Using data from a nationally representative survey of US citizens, we find that as the strength of gender egalitarian attitudes increases, respondents' support for the use of force to achieve traditional security objectives declines. Importantly, however, our results suggest that gender egalitarian attitudes exert the strongest suppressive effect on support for the use force among male respondents: rising gender egalitarianism among men effectively closes the gender gap in support for the use of force. Consequently, these results provide microlevel support for the relationship between gender equality and peace found in macrolevel observational analyses.
- Gender equality
- International conflict
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations