Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Karl G. Bailey

Second Advisor

Marcella Myers

Abstract

This paper examines the influences of religious and political attitudes on attitudes towards women in power. Specifically, I measure the ideology and general favorability of Conservative Christians (Seventhday Adventists) towards various political candidates and ideological positions. This question is worth analyzing, considering relatively recent events regarding the role of women in politics and corresponding discussion in religious circles on the role of women in church leadership. A survey method was used to test whether there is a relationship between attitudes towards women in power in politics (female political candidates) and women in power in religion (women's ordination), as well as to measure additional variables that might predict any relationship. 351 subjects in three separate groups indicated attitudes towards ten religious and ten political statements using a 5-point Likert scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The results were analyzed using a Pearson's correlation coefficient, while also running the non-parametric Kendall's tau-b because of possible violations of parametric assumptions. The hypothesis that a strong positive relationship exists between attitudes towards religious women & political women in power was supported by a statistically significant positive correlation at the level of more general attitudes between women's ordination and female political candidates, but not when specific candidates were considered. Finally, favorability towards women in power and more "liberal" ideology were positively correlated to some degree, which suggests changing attitudes towards women in power have an ideological basis that may be consistent with trends within Conservative Protestant circles.

Subject Area

Leadership in women, Women--Political activity, Women in public life

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