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The impact of gender stereotypes on voting for women candidates

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By the 80's of the last century, politics was purely male-dominated sphere, and women-politicians were simply ignored. However, in the early 1980s, the traditional voting model has been changed in several countries, which has led to an increase in the number of women in politics. In those years, as a rule, men were more conservative, and women considered themselves as more liberal. As well as political orientation, spheres of influence were shared between men and women. This division was based exclusively on gender stereotypes. But after more than 30 years, such a division between men and women still exists [Aalberg&Jenssen, 2017]. To date, a modern, democratic society is trying to achieve full equality between women and men. According to international standards, men and women have equal rights to participate fully in all aspects of the political process. However, in practice, it is much harder for women to take full advantage of these rights [The United Nations]. The extent to which women are involved in political activism and access to decision-making can be seen as a key indicator of gender equality in society. The gender difference in decision making should be viewed from the point of view of whether there are women in positions of office, who can, make decisions or influence their adoption on a par with men [Ukrainian Women’s Fund, 2011]. Gender stereotypes, as well as gender inequality, have been shaping into society for a long time, and actions aimed at overcoming it must be strategic and consistent [Huddy&Terkildsen, 1993]. Despite the fact that to date, the number of women who want to hold high political positions has increased, women still do not achieve equality with men. To understand the cause of such inequality, academics and the media often focus on whether public opinion about women and their relevance to public office in elections play an important role in choosing a candidate. Among the factors that can influence the voter's decision are stereotypes, which are defined as the conviction of people about the role of women and men. Often stereotypes about the role of men and women are present in the minds of voters. Basically, times when women did not have any chance of winning the election and even to be a candidate for a certain high position have gone, but still stereotypes still exist and may influence the political choice, but they can no longer restrain women just like they were once. To better understand the current environment and the chances of women being equal candidates for a high-ranking position with men, we need to find out whether voters really use gender stereotypes and whether stereotypes can actually affect women candidates [Donal&Lynch, 2016]. Stereotypes characterize women as more emotional, sympathetic, and caring than men, which are usually seen as more decisive, rigid and assertive. Typically, male stereotypes may be a plus in politics, since they are in line with expectations of voters, and female stereotypes, on the contrary, run counter to these expectations. To date, many scholars argue about the benefits of stereotypes for women candidates. They argue that gender stereotypes can be beneficial as they place female candidates the hallmarks of political leaders. Other researchers argue that stereotypes have a negative influence on the political choices, as voters often believe that women do not have the necessary skills to hold a position [Bauer, 2015]. We therefore formulate the following hypothesis:


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