American Women and Political Participation: The Impacts of Work, Generation, and Feminism


Karen Beckwith examines the patterns of mass-level political participation among American women from 1952 to 1976. Four distinct forms of political participation are focused upon: voting, electoral activism, conventional nonelectoral participation, and political protest. She then tests three explanations considered unique to the political participation of women in these areas: the nature of women's work; women's experience in political generations; and adherence to or support of feminism. Surprisingly, Beckwith's study indicates that such traditional explanations reveal more about men than about women, and that there is very little difference in participation between the sexes. However, Beckwith found that reported feelings of political efficacy among women were less than among men, even where actual participation differences were nonexistent.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1986


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