Cross-national variation of gender difference in environmental concern: The impact of socio-cultural factors

[Speaker] Chan, Hoi-wing:1
[Co-author] Tam, Kim-pong:1, Pong, Vivien:1
1:The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Hong Kong)

While it has been documented that women in general exhibit stronger environmental concern than do men, little is known if the magnitude of this gender difference varies across societies. We hypothesize that there is such a cross-national variation for two reasons: (i) socio-cultural contexts can create or remove hurdles for men and women to pursue what they value, and thereby narrow or broaden gender differences; (ii) gender differences are more pronounced when individuals focus on intergroup (vs. intragroup) comparison, and this focus varies across societies. Using two international survey data sets (ISSP, 2010 and WVS, 2005), we found that, as hypothesized, the gender difference in environmental concern is larger in societies with higher levels of gender equality and lower levels of power distance. Our findings suggest the need to move beyond individual-level analysis in explaining gender difference in environmentalism and to consider the socio-cultural context when crafting environmental messages.
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