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The Politics of the Gender Gap in COVID-19: Partisanship, Health Behavior, and Policy Preferences in the US

Colleen Dougherty Burton, Shana Kushner Gadarian, Sara Wallace Goodman, Thomas B. Pepinsky

Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, November 2023

Shana Kushner Gadarian

Shana Kushner Gadarian

Several studies demonstrate gender and partisan differences among Americans in COVID-19 socioeconomic consequences, attitudes, and behaviors. Using six waves of panel survey data, this article explores the intersection of gender and party across COVID-19 mitigation behaviors, concerns, and policy preferences.

We observe small gender gaps on several measures; however, partisan differences are larger than gender differences when considering the interaction between gender and partisanship. Democratic women are more similar to Democratic men on these measures than to Republican women. On virtually all measures, Republican women report lower levels of mitigation behaviors, worries, and support for expansive government policies compared to Democratic women and men.

Analyzing the interaction of gender and partisanship illuminates how individuals navigated the pandemic with respect to identity factors that often pull in different directions. These findings suggest that one's partisan identity is more consequential than gender when it comes to COVID behaviors, concerns, and policy preferences.

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