Politics and Gender
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Current thinking about the effect of religion on civic engagement centers on “institutional treatment”—the development of resources, social pathways to recruitment, and motivation that occurs in small groups and activities of congregations. None of this work has yet incorporated the personality traits that may shape the uptake of institutional treatment. Following a growing line of research articulating how individual predispositions condition political involvement, we argue that gendered personality differences may moderate civic skill development. With new data, we find that women do not develop skills from religious involvement at the same rate as men and that this pattern is largely attributable to their distinctive personality profile. The results shift the balance between individuals and institutional influences by augmenting the cognitive bases for acquiring church-gained experiences and linking them to the public square.
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