Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Relationships Among Gender in Politics, Perceived Competency, and Likelihood of Voting

Publication Date

Fall 2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Patrick Morse

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


It has been established that in the realm of politics, gender stereotypes influence the perceptions of politicians' competence (Lawless, 2004). Studies have also shown that both men and women underestimate women’s overall political knowledge (Mendez & Osborn, 2010). People who hold sexist ideologies tend to put less effort into researching female candidates and their positions and are less likely to vote for them (Ditonto, 2019). Previous research has explored these connections between gender and electability (likelihood of voting) and competence and gender separately (Huddy, 1993 & Roosmarijn et al., 2021). However, there exists no established connection between these three variables in one comprehensive study, which we seek to achieve. 60 participants were sampled from Belmont University’s Scientific Psychology, General Psychology, Honors Scientific Inquiry, and Introductory Psychology courses and recruited through SONA. Participants were asked to complete a Qualtrics survey consisting of a competency and likelihood of voting assessment made by the research team, the Gender-Career IAT, and demographics questions. We propose four hypotheses. First, we predict that there is a negative correlation between sexism and the perceived competency of female candidates, in turn, we also predict that there is a negative correlation between sexism and likelihood of voting for female candidates. Next, we predict that there is a positive correlation between perceived competency and likelihood of voting for female candidates. Finally, we predict that female candidates will be rated as less competent and less electable than male and gender-neutral candidates.

Overall, women have been consistently underrepresented in politics due to no fault of their own. We hope that through this research people can better understand the relationships between sexism and female representation in politics and be inspired to implement changes to close the gap between men and women in leadership positions.

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