, Salem, MA


October 18, 2012

Anderson: Minding the gender gap


In January 2012, Pew Research found that 70 percent of men knew that China holds the most U.S. debt ... while only 49 percent of women knew that. Men beat women on every question, from what the unemployment rate was (men won by 14 percentage points) to other hotter issues in the news. Someone at The Atlantic theorized that “maybe all the knowledgeable women voters were just too busy with work-life balance to answer the phone when the pollster called.”

I’d buy that if weren’t for men who don’t answer the phone if there’s a sports event on television or if there’s someone else in the house.

I do understand that men are likely to be more hawkish than women: They were playing war games, in the backyard or with their electronic toys, when girls were playing with dolls. But why would there be a gender gap on economic issues? Why would women want to give more power to government, which is mostly run by men?

Still, there must be a reason that Democratic politicians always make a big deal about “women’s issues,” even though, according to political scientist Karen Kaufman, polls have shown that men and women closely track one another in their views about abortion, and birth control hasn’t been controversial with anyone since the aforementioned 1980.

I just got a phone call linking me to a live John Tierney Town Hall. Listened as he told a caller that his opponent wants to deny women cancer screening. Please. What woman would believe that anyone wants to prevent women from getting cancer screenings?

Are some women, for some reason, more likely to believe lying politicians on any number of subjects?

For instance: Are women less likely than men to believe that the Obama administration lied about the Benghazi attack, insisting that it was a response to an anti-Islam video instead of a planned 9/11 terrorist event that should have been prevented? I’m outraged about the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, and what seems to be a State Department cover-up; why wouldn’t all women be?

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