Climate change beliefs and gender

One thing I enjoy about academic research is that I often find people are asking questions I never would have thought of. An example: what is the relationship between gender and beliefs regarding climate change? A sociologist has some answers:

“Men still claim they have a better understanding of global warming than women, even though women’s beliefs align much more closely with the scientific consensus…”

McCright analyzed eight years of data from Gallup’s annual environment poll that asked fairly basic questions about climate change knowledge and concern. He said the gender divide on concern about climate change was not explained by the roles that men and women perform such as whether they were homemakers, parents or employed full time.

Instead, he said the gender divide likely is explained by “gender socialization.” According to this theory, boys in the United States learn that masculinity emphasizes detachment, control and mastery. A feminine identity, on the other hand, stresses attachment, empathy and care – traits that may make it easier to feel concern about the potential dire consequences of global warming, McCright said.

Interesting ideas. If this does occur through the socialization process, at what age do boys and girls begin to differ in their views?

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