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Women are seen as less knowledgeable about politics and men more - despite actual level of knowledge

(21 Posts)
ArranUpsideDown Sat 22-Feb-20 17:55:09

Title is a paraphrase of Hetan Shah's summary:

We find both men and women perceive women to be less knowledgeable about politics and men to be more knowledgeable, regardless of the actual level of knowledge each discussion partner holds.

I'm interested because it might cast some light on MSM's preference for the male perspective on social and political issues that affect women (given the number of men who are booked rather than women).

A thread about the study: Gender and the Perception of Knowledge in Political Discussion

web.pdx.edu/~mev/pdf/PS%20471%20Winter15%20Readings/Mendez_Osborn.pdf

Related Twitter thread that is worth reading:

Reminder to “politics experts” on this website that there is high-quality, peer-reviewed evidence of men’s systematic tendency to over-estimate their own political knowledge and underestimate that of others, particularly women.

Plenty of evidence that men guess more than women on questions of political facts. I am not sure we want to (continue to) reward guesses over real knowledge

And why might men be inserting themselves in someone’s speech (including online speech) to “clarify” or “add their insight”? Or maybe just to assert authority and status? (Gives reference and additional commentary.)

twitter.com/cmMcConnaughy/status/1231255337359040514?s=20

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midgebabe Sat 22-Feb-20 18:02:04

Isn't that true for most things?

ArranUpsideDown Sat 22-Feb-20 18:17:55

I was interested by Corrine McConnaughy's suggestion (based on a study that involved 470 individuals in 94 groups) that:

We can shape the rules of discussion to enable better listening and less gender bias in exercise of dominance by voice.

pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&=&context=comm_fac&=&sei-redir=1&referer=https%253A%252F%252Fscholar.google.com%252Fscholar%253Fhl%253Den%2526as_sdt%253D0%25252C34%2526q%253Dmendelberg%252Band%252Bkarpowitz%2526btnG%253D#search=%22mendelberg%20karpowitz%22

It seems that management of details can alter the perception of women's influence and authority. There are some interesting variations but it reads like something that could be assessed in multiple settings if organisations were willing to try it and genuinely valued hearing from a plurality of voices.

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aliasundercover Sat 22-Feb-20 18:51:37

Women are seen as less knowledgeable about politics and men more - despite actual level of knowledge

Remove the words 'about politics' from that statement and it's still true.

midgebabe Sat 22-Feb-20 19:23:40

The paper also seemed to say that women only groups could help women build their skills

I also wonder however, if people knew that the structure of something was being manipulated to promote fairness if that would affect how they behave? Like, when people have had diversity training they become less inclusive because they think they have had the training so they must be ok/right?

StrictlyAFemaleFemale Sat 22-Feb-20 21:48:49

I heard a podcast the other day about how we engage in politics, or at least how it happens in the US. Generally speaking white men read the papers and know more "facts". In terms of who actually gets involved in local groups to effect change its women and people of colour.
It was Hidden Brain and the episode is called when passion isnt enough. Fascinating podcast. Am always wiser after listening smile

wellbehavedwomen Sat 22-Feb-20 22:05:06

@aliasundercover yep.

DH and I met at university. I did better, as it happens. And yet we're very aware that when he starts talking, about politics especially, people listen more. This is starkly apparent over the women's rights issues at the moment.

Where I'm appreciative is that he knows it, and knows why, too. It means he went into school to discuss this with the (male) head and will be seeing our MP shortly. Because men listen to men. Sadly, so do many women. Even ones who consider themselves feminist. It's shit, though.

We see it on MN all the time. A man arrives to explain women's issues to us at length and as though we hadn't considered some basic and fairly obvious point.

Rebecca Solnit is brilliant on this.

ScrimshawTheSecond Sat 22-Feb-20 22:20:35

Not politics, but the other day a woman posted some lovely pics of a sunrise at a local beauty spot. A man popped up to say 'I think you'll find the sun doesn't rise that far south'. On the photo. Of the sun rising exactly where it rises. Unbelievable.

ArranUpsideDown Sat 22-Feb-20 23:39:10

A man popped up to say 'I think you'll find the sun doesn't rise that far south'

From Corrine McConnaughy's thread:

And why might be inserting themselves in someone’s speech (including online speech) to “clarify” or “add their insight”?

tl;dr It seems to be an act of dominance and status assertion.

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Forgotthebins Sun 23-Feb-20 06:44:51

This resonates. A man I work with (not senior to me, not involved to date) has set up a meeting next week to "share his vision" for my (successful) project and tell me how we can "make it happen".

StrictlyAFemaleFemale Sun 23-Feb-20 08:04:39

@Forgotthebins the friggin cheek!

ScrimshawTheSecond Sun 23-Feb-20 09:09:24

Woah. How will you deal with that Forgot?

ScrimshawTheSecond Sun 23-Feb-20 09:10:59

Arran, yes that sounds about right. Useful reference, thank you.

Doyoumind Sun 23-Feb-20 09:12:30

I don't need to read anything to know that. It's already clear to me as something deeply engrained in our society.

OhamIreally Sun 23-Feb-20 09:15:12

@Forgotthebins wow! He doesn't just want to share his vision does he? He wants to take credit for your project!

I work in a male dominated industry and am now senior to most of the men I work with. The amount of them still sending me their shitty administrative tasks without a hint of shame is unbelievable.
You can bet they're all sharing their vision also (and most of it is critical of my own efforts).

RedToothBrush Sun 23-Feb-20 10:12:14

I have been very much on the recieving end of this.

I would say I have 'an above average' level of political knowledge. I studied it at university and am very keen on keeping up with current affairs.

It makes the pub interesting.

GCAcademic Sun 23-Feb-20 10:16:31

In academia, it is well known that students tend to regard a male lecturer as more expert in their field than a female lecturer, even when the female lecturer is more senior, widely published, etc. This unconscious bias also pertains in relation to race. Nonetheless, many universities, particularly in the US, insist on using student evaluations of lecturers as part of the evidence in considering promotion.

mrsmuddlepies Sun 23-Feb-20 10:21:47

I found many of the personal comments directed at Lisa Nandy on a recent Feminist Chat thread really offensive. It is one thing to disagree with her politics, quite another to repeatedly describe her as 'thick as poo'. If I was a female politician and read some of the personal comments designed to be as hurtful as possible on Feminist Chat threads, I would walk away from politics.

ArranUpsideDown Sun 23-Feb-20 10:23:15

Nonetheless, many universities, particularly in the US, insist on using student evaluations of lecturers as part of the evidence in considering promotion.

I'm irritated with Trisha Greenhalgh for other things but I thought it was courageous of her to admit that when she's on a panel evaluating women or considering research funding applications she as much as anyone needs to overcome her "gender bias" against accepting women's expertise. The illustration is the little reminder that they were given when they sat down to the evaluations and the thread is interesting.

twitter.com/trishgreenhalgh/status/1171686062181244928

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andyoldlabour Sun 23-Feb-20 10:44:07

As a bloke, I come on this forum to enjoy the informed discourse about current political events, I find it far more enlightening than listening to someone saying to me - "you're on the wrong side of history", "Boomer!", "You're bigoted", "Science has changed".
I remember when there were "solid" women politicians - Clare Short, Shirley Williams, Kate Hoey, Mo Mowlem.
Politics in general is in a hell of a mess.

ScrimshawTheSecond Sun 23-Feb-20 16:49:30

This is an interesting research project, I stumbled on it when reading Malcolm Gladwell's book 'blink'. You can test your own unconscious prejudices and contribute to their research: implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/

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