Gender and Millennial Support for Women Political Leaders

Delaina Lea Sawyers, Walden University

Abstract

Despite comprising more than 50% of the population and voting in greater numbers than men, women are underrepresented in U.S. political leadership. Although research exists on the correlation between gender and politics, little literature addresses the influence of generation and gender on voting behavior. Using Jaggar's liberal feminist theory as a framework, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between female generational cohorts and their policy preferences and candidate support. Two research questions assessed the differences between female millennials and baby boomers regarding policy preferences in the areas of income equality, opportunity, representation, and candidate support. A quantitative cross-sectional study design was employed, using secondary data from the 2016 presidential election for millennial and baby boomer women voters aged 20 to 35 years and 52 to 70 years, respectively, totaling 1,111 respondents. Mann-Whitney U statistical test revealed significant generational policy preference differences in equal pay, income disparity, electing women, and experience of discrimination (p >.005). Binomial logistic regression did not find generation to be a predictor of candidate support (p <.005). These results suggest that policy is viewed differently between generations, but generation is not a predictor of vote choice. Implications for positive social change stemming from this study include recommendations to political campaigns and party platforms to design social policies to advance gender economic equality targeting wages and organizational workplace discrimination. Following this recommendation may increase opportunities for women in elected office.