Why Do Young Men Oppose Gender Quotas: The Case of South Korea


Why Do Young Men Oppose Gender Quotas: The Case of South Korea


Despite increasing efforts to implement legislative gender quotas, many countries still encounter substantial popular opposition to this policy. Previous work cannot explain why opposition to legislative gender quotas persists, particularly among young men, a group believed to be open to diversity. In this study, the authors developed and tested a theoretical framework linking group threat to men’s attitudes toward legislative gender quotas. While the salience of perceived group threat could trigger men’s opposition to legislative gender quotas, the study argued that this effect would be more profound among young men due to the heightened degree of economic insecurity experienced by younger generations. Using original survey experiments in South Korea, this study demonstrated the strong influence of group threat in the formation of negative attitudes toward legislative gender quotas among young men. These effects, however, were not mediated by traditional gender norms. The study’s findings have significant implications for the study of gender and politics and democratic representation.


Yesola Kweon is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Utah State University. Her research interests are international and comparative political economy, political behavior, and public policy with a focus on East Asia. Within these broad fields, she studies how new forms of inequality associated with post-industrialization affect the behavior of political actors and in turn, reshape public policy.


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