More stress, less voice? The gender gap in political participation during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Roxana Burciu Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Italy

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Swen Hutter Freie Universität Berlin and WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Germany

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Initial fears of a standstill in political participation during the COVID-19 pandemic have not come true. Nevertheless, the voices heard in politics may have changed in such a radically altered social and political context. Specifically, the current article examines whether the gender gap in political participation has widened during the pandemic, reinforcing the gendered impact of the pandemic and state measures to cope with it. To empirically assess the development and drivers of the gender gap in political participation, we rely on original survey data for Germany collected in autumn 2020 and spring 2021. Based on retrospective questions about pre-pandemic behaviour and a within-pandemic panel, our results indicate three points: (1) the COVID-19 crisis has slightly increased the gender gap in participation; (2) COVID-19-related burdens (such as increasing care obligations) have not restrained, but fostered, participation; and (3) this mobilising effect is, however, stronger among men than women.

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Roxana Burciu Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Italy

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Swen Hutter Freie Universität Berlin and WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Germany

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