In a recent post for The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, associate Network member Hollie Russon-Gilman, together with Tiago Peixoto, Jonathan Mellon and Fredrik M. Sjoberg, highlights research published by the Harvard Kennedy School comparing political participation, both online and offline, among men and women. The research shows that, in terms of offline policy, women are more likely to engage in “thin” forms of participation like voting, but are less likely to engage in “thick” participatory forms like monetary donations or running for elected offices. Still, the Internet has offered new potential for online political participation. The post provides a deeper analysis of this phenomenon, and analyzes the following points specifically:
- “Women do not participate as much as men in many forms of offline politics.
- New online resources might be changing the balance.
- Men and women seem to have different priorities for online politics.
- Women are less likely to organize new petitions online. However, they are better at it.”
The post concludes by drawing a correlation between the petitions women choose to engage with and their successful implementations on resulting government agendas. These results support for the concept of “viral engagement” and its effect on democracy and politics. The authors seek to “shine a light on the possibility of harnessing civic tech platforms’ ‘big data’” with the hopes of having a deeper impact on progressive governance.