Present but Not Accounted For? Gender Differences in Civic Resource Acquisition


  • An earlier version of this article was prepared for delivery at the 2006 annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. This research is supported by National Science Foundation grant SBR-9809536 to Gustavus Adolphus College. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This research is also supported by a 1998–99 Small Research Grant from the American Political Science Association. The authors thank Katherine Stenger, Julie Gilbert, Kristi Anderson, Scott McClurg, Kira Sanbonmatsu, Marianne Stewart, Sarah Sokhey, and the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments and suggestions at various stages of this project.

Paul A. Djupe is associate professor of political science, Denison University, Granville, OH 43023 ( Anand E. Sokhey is a Ph.D. candidate in political science and fellow in statistics and methodology, The Ohio State University, 2140 Derby Hall, 154 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 ( Christopher P. Gilbert is professor of political science, Gustavus Adolphus College, 800 W. College Ave., St. Peter, MN 56082 (


We investigate the sources of an important form of social inequality: the social processes by which men and women acquire participatory resources in organizations. In particular, we investigate the extent to which men and women acquire civic skills and are targets for political recruitment within churches. Integrating theory about social interaction within an organizational structure, we hypothesize that the ways in which women gain politically relevant resources from the church are simply different from those of men. Three factors explain the institutional treatment of women in churches: (1) women's political contributions are devalued; (2) women respond to social cues more than men do; (3) women respond to political cues from clergy—especially female clergy—whereas men do not. Our findings of gender differences in civic resource acquisition provide a more nuanced treatment of the mobilization process and have broad implications for the relationship between political difference and participatory democracy.