Academic journal article Polish Sociological Review

A Gender Gap in Opinionation in Times of Crises and Political Stability

Academic journal article Polish Sociological Review

A Gender Gap in Opinionation in Times of Crises and Political Stability

Article excerpt

Introduction

At the end of the 20th century, a number of studies was conducted to analyse nonresponses in questionnaires under the assumption that nonresponses carry a great deal of information (seee.g.Ferber 1956; Francis, Bush 1975; Rapoport 1979; 1982; 1985;Ferligoj etal. 1985). In empirical analyses, nonresponses are usually removed, which could potentially mean a loss of information. In Slovenia, a similar study was conducted in the late 80s (Ferligoj et al. 1989; 1990). An analysis of public opinion data during the years 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1988 revealed higher differences in nonresponses between men and women in comparison to similar research conducted in old western democracies (Rapoport 1982). The economic, financial and political crises in the period of transition seemed to be the cause of this. Now, almost 30 years after the original research, after 25 years of Slovenia's independence and more than 10 years of full membership in the European Union (EU), we are interested in whether the gap between men and women in expressed opinions is still present. After all, the share of nonresponses should decrease with the emancipation of women and their active entrance into the public sphere, even more so if nonresponses are indicators of apathy, ignorance, lack of information or social and economic position (Ferligoj et al. 1998; 1990). We will consider three periods: the period after the transition and before accession to the EU (from 2000 to 2003)1; the period after accession to the EU and the presidency of the council of the EU, as well as a period of economic growth (from 2004 to 2008)2; and period at the beginning of the economic, financial and political crises in Slovenia (from 2009 to 2013)3. Our assumption is that the difference in the number of nonresponses between men and women would be lower during the first two periods, periods of economic growth and stability, in comparison to the third period, a period of political crisis. The results of our analysis should be relevant not only for Slovenia, but also for Eastern and Central Europe and for Western Europe.

The question of gender equality remains a relevant issue in social sciences, especially when using an innovative approach and considering current social conditions.

Nonresponses in Questionnaires

We differentiate between two types of nonresponses (Ferber 1956). The first type is a complete nonresponse, where the respondent refuses to participate in the survey, and the second is a partial nonresponse. In this case, the respondent agrees to participate in the survey but does not answer all questions or answers with the 'Do not know' answer. In this article, we took an innovative approach that analyses partial nonresponses4 in public opinion surveys, which are usually excluded from analyses. When we treat nonresponses as missing values in our statistical analyses, we assume nonresponses are randomly distributed. With the increasing number of nonresponses treated as missing values, it becomes questionable if analysed respondents are true representatives of the population (Rapoport 1979). Nonresponses are indicators of ignorance, apathy or absence of opinion (Ferligoj et al. 1989). Based on nonresponses, we can make a distinction between opinionated and non-opinionated citizens (Uhan 1998). Several research studies have shown that nonresponses are not randomly distributed (Feber 1956; Francis, Busch 1975; Rapoport 1982; Rapoport 1985; Ferligoj et al. 1989; Novak 2013) and are explained by level of education, gender, age, ethnic group, household type, marital status, region, community size, occupation, income, political inclusion, knowledge and general opinion. Politically active individuals, men, the ethnic majority and respondents with a higher economic position are more inclined to express opinions in comparison to politically inactive individuals, women, the ethnic minority and those with a lower socioeconomic position, who in higher proportions answer with the 'Do not know' answer (Rapoport 1982). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.