Gender Role Beliefs and Attitudes Toward Abortion: A Cross-National Exploration

Document Type



In this exploratory study of mass opinion, the following question is addressed: Given the importance of gender role attitudes in elite-level discourse on abortion, why is the relationship between gender role egalitarianism and support for abortion so weak at the level of mass opinion. This relationship seems to be suppressed by two considerations: First, a lack of cognitive sophistication among some respondents makes the connection between gender role attitudes and abortion somewhat complex. Second, mass publics may experience cross-pressures, such as differences in labor force participation and religiosity, that mitigate against a simple connection between gender role egalitarianism and reproductive freedom (or vice versa). Limited support is found for both hypotheses. Data are taken from the 1999–2007 World Values Surveys.


Abortion; Abortion—attitudes; Religion; Reproductive rights; Sex roles


American Politics | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Political Science | Women's Studies


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