The Gendered Context of Conflict: Northern Irish Attitudes toward Women’s Employment and Family Roles before and after the Good Friday Agreement

Mick Cunningham, Western Washington University

Research into the relationship between gendered family roles and ethnic conflict has led to differing conclusions. On the one hand, nationalist sentiment during conflict has been linked to gender conservatism. On the other hand, social disorganization associated with conflict may lead to a redefinition of gendered roles that enhances women’s status. I investigate these competing hypotheses by examining attitudes toward women’s employment and gendered family roles in Northern Ireland. The analyses leverage change over time and comparisons with eight European countries to make inferences about the relationship between gender and conflict. Data come from the 1994 and 2002 waves of the International Social Survey Program. The findings offer little evidence that individuals in Northern Ireland increased their support for women’s non-domestic roles across this period. Further, although Catholics were more egalitarian than Protestants at both time points, Catholic support for egalitarian family roles decreased between 1994 and 2002.

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Presented in Session 74: Gender Issues: Cross-National Comparisons