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Gender Gaps in Civic and Political Participation in Latin America

December 06, 2016 by Rosario Espinal, Shanyang Zhao

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This article examines whether there is gender segmentation in civic participation in Latin America, and whether such segmentation is related to gender differences in political participation. Confirming the findings of other studies, this analysis indicates that there is gender segmentation in civic associational activities, and that men are more involved than women in political activities, except for voting. Among those involved in civic activities, however, women attend meetings more often than men or about equally in all types of activities under consideration, except for sports and recreational pursuits. This highlights the need to differentiate between type and intensity of civic participation and provides empirical evidence that Latin American women have strong community ties through a variety of organizations. The regression analysis shows that civic engagement has a positive effect on political participation but that the magnitude of that effect varies by gender depending on the activity.