This study employs a secondary analysis of U.S. nationally representative data from the Pew Internet 2008 civic engagement survey (N = 2251) to examine the degree to which contacting public officials both online and offline is explained by the variables of gender and political connectedness. We find that while women are somewhat less likely to contact public officials through direct means, such as emailing or writing a letter, they are more likely to sign petitions, offline and especially online. Gender gaps in direct forms of contact are smaller in the online context than the offline context. We additionally find that that gender moderates the relationship between political connectedness developed via social networking sites and contacting public officials, such that women gain even further advantage in signing online petitions, but also gain further disadvantage in writing a letter/calling public officials and signing offline petitions. Finally, we find that political connectedness, achieved via social networking sites and offline contexts, is related to contacting public officials through both online and traditional means, suggesting a blurring of offline and online worlds.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 9, 2013
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