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Keywords:

  • Collective action;
  • social identity;
  • relative deprivation;
  • efficacy;
  • collectivist orientation;
  • gender identity

Abstract

The present study is an investigation into the social psychological factors associated with women's reported participation in a range of different types of political action in the context of gender relations. At time 1,610 women were asked to rate their readiness to participate in various actions and to provide measures of social beliefs. Factor analysis extracted four types of action: participation in women's groups, collective protest, informal participation, and individual protest. One year later, at time 2, a subgroup of the same women were asked to say how much they had actually participated over the previous 12 months. Reported participation was related to gender identity, collective relative deprivation, efficacy, collectivist orientation, and identification as an activist. Regression analysis showed that identification as an activist was by far the most powerful correlate of participation, followed by gender identity; and that gender identity also played a role in moderating relationships between reported participation and other predictor variables. These findings show the important role of identity processes underlying participation in collective action and suggest the need to develop interaction models of participation.