Traditional Gender Roles and Opposition to Globalization in the United States
The Public Policy Center is proud to support the Spring 2023 speaker series hosted by the Department of Political Science. This week's guest speaker is Jane Sumner, associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota.
How are attitudes toward trade gendered? In contrast with many studies that conceive of gender as an individual attribute, in this paper, we conceive of gender as a (method of societal organization). That is, for many people, gender dictates the ideal organization of society, with men slotted into "breadwinner" roles and women slotted into "caretaker" roles. We argue that a belief in the importance of this organizational structure influences attitudes toward trade, as trade in the United States has disproportionately led to lost jobs in traditionally male-coded industries. As such, trade is perceived to undermine the ability of men to find sufficient paid labor outside the home, therefore weakening the viability of the entire man-as-breadwinner model. We test this using repeated cross-sections from the ANES and find strong support for a relationship between a belief in traditional gender roles and support for protectionism.