Gender Stereotypes among Japanese Voters

Author Name ENDO Yuya (Tohoku University) / ONO Yoshikuni (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. July 2021 21-E-061
Research Project Advanced Technology and Democracy: Does new technology help or hurt democracy?
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What stereotypes do Japanese voters have regarding male and female politicians? Women are extremely underrepresented in Japanese politics, and one possible reason for the underrepresentation is that voters have gender-based stereotypes that put women candidates at a disadvantage. Numerous studies have revealed the gender stereotypes of voters in the United States, but little has been established regarding whether Japanese voters have similar stereotypes as those found in the United Sates. In order to clarify gender stereotypes in the context of Japanese politics, we conducted a survey of approximately 3,000 Japanese voters in March 2020, employing the same questions and question format as used in a study conducted in the United States. Our results revealed similar stereotypes for men and women politicians regarding policy areas of expertise and salient personal characteristics as those found in the United States. We also found that gender stereotypes were shared among women voters as well as men voters, and that they varied by age and party support. If gender stereotypes have any influence on voter decisions, candidates and politicians would achieve the best results by acting in line with the stereotypes of their target constituencies to maximize their electoral support.