Lisa Hummel is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Stanford. Her dissertation project looks at the intersection of identity and ideology for political minorities; specifically she studies lay theories of inequality among political conservatives in California. She uses mixed methods including qualitative interviews and experimental methods. Using a conjoint experiment, she seeks to answer why conservatives are less likely than liberals to support women in leadership positions in politics.
Last year with support from Laboratory for the Study of American Values, I ran a conjoint experiment to look at differences in support for women in political leadership based on political ideology. The results demonstrated a pattern where liberals expressed more support for women in politics compared to conservatives. Conservatives did not show a preference for a candidate on the basis of their gender, they were as likely to select a woman as a man. Meanwhile, liberals were significantly more likely than conservatives to support women in leadership positions over men. These findings are in line with existing survey data that I analyzed, where liberals showed more support for women in leadership, however more research is needed to fully understand how and why this pattern is emerging. / / In order to better understand how and why conservatives and liberals react to a candidate based on the candidate’s gender and other attributes, I plan to run a follow-up conjoint study of 2,000 individuals on the Lucid platform. I will keep many aspects of this study the same as my conjoint experiment, but I seek to build on those findings by collecting data on more respondents to ensure my findings are robust. Additionally, I plan to vary whether or not the candidate has had to overcome hardship to become a political candidate. Similar to colorblind racism (Bonilla-Silva 2006), there may be a genderblind sexism that conservatives are more likely to employ; it may be the case that liberals show more support for women in politics over men if liberals perceive that women candidates needed to overcome more hardships to become candidates compared to men. Conservatives may be less likely to believe it takes more effort for women to become candidates, so that might explain why they do not show a gender based preference in my original conjoint. /