Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type

Chapman access only poster or presentation

Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2015

Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


The 2012 election was rampant with rhetoric about "women's issues," specifically, welfare, education, and reproductive rights which are commonly framed as gender specific issues based on women's perceived positions as primary caregivers. From these assumptions stem symbolic and issue-based attempts to to target the much coveted “women’s vote,” which has been subject to much scrutiny since the emergence of the gender gap. Much of this literature treats women as a monolithic voting bloc, falsely separates gender into a binary, and frames “women’s issues” into a marginal category outside of mainstream political issues. Building from literature that emphasizes women are not a voting bloc, this paper uses data from the NES 2012 election study to reassess the relationship between the gender of a respondent and attitudes towards welfare, education, and reproductive rights. The present study also examines whether gender is the best organizing mechanism to assess voter’s political attitudes, and looks at other demographic factors that have larger chasms than gender. The paper concludes with a re-examination of “women’s issues” and the larger implications & repercussions for targeting voters based on essentialist assumptions.


Presented at the Spring 2015 Student Research Day at Chapman University.

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