A Trump supporter waits to hear the president speak in Biloxi, Mississippi on 2 January, 2016. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Studies from at least as far back as 2006 have shown married women have very often voted in the economic interest of a male partner; and given wage disparities and mens traditional breadwinner status, it makes a good deal of sense from an economic perspective that married women might have voted that way. Though the pay gap has narrowed, a significant disparity endures, and so too do attendant gendered expectations.
study published Wednesday by Pew Research Center found Americans continue to see men as the primary financial provider, even as womens contributions have grown.
While 71% of women polled said it was very important for a man to be able to support a family financially, just 41% of women said the same about their own gender. Among white men and women, the number who said it was important for women to be able to support a family was just 27%, compared to 52% among black men and women.
Most striking of all, perhaps: the more educated women were, the less likely they were to say women being able to support a family was important.
The trend lines are disturbing: across race and education, the groups most likely to be able to support a family on their husbands income alone white women, and women of all races with a college degree were the most likely dismiss the importance of women being able to support a family.
They may also offer context for other reports,
like one from a New York City-based thinktank in 2015, which found black women were significantly more ambitious than white women in the workplace (22% of black women said they wanted to hold powerful positions, as compared with just 8% of white women).
study, published in Political Research Quarterly, further illuminates such dynamics by seeking to distill the extent to which women see their own fates as linked to the fates of other women in the country.
Using data from the 2012
American National Election Study, her team analyzed responses from more than 2,000 women to the following question: Do you think that what happens generally to women in this country will have something to do with what happens in your life? Women who said yes were then asked to report the extent to which they felt that was true.
The findings showed unmarried women were significantly more likely than married women to answer yes to the question. And the gaps between how single women and married women answered were largest among white women and Latina women.
The origins of such gaps are thought to be economic as well as cultural. White women,
according Bureau of Labor Statistics data, are more likely to marry and stay married than women of any other race, for instance. Meanwhile, many Latinas, the report authors note, maintain ties to a culture of familism which advocates for the interests of the family as a whole to take precedence over the interest of any single member of the family.
Single and married black women were the most likely to see their fates as bound up in the fate of all women, and, significantly, were much more likely than white or Latina women to be the primary breadwinners in their families as well as the more educated partner when they married.
Racial groups have really strong collective identity bonds, so it wasnt surprising that when they had a black candidate to vote for, they experienced really high turnout, said Kretschmer. For women, one of the interesting things is they consistently lack social identity bonds.
False assumptions that women will vote as a unified bloc go back to the earliest days of the womens suffrage movement: Women always take the part of each other, a New York Herald editorial warned in 1870 of Victoria Woodhulls bid for president, and if the women can be allowed to vote Mrs Woodhull may rely on rolling up the heaviest majority ever polled in this or any other nation.
But no such advantage ever materialized for Woodhull, who saw the suffragist-inspired support that had once boosted her quickly crumble when aspects of her personal life came under attack.
As Amanda Hess
pointed out in the New York Times, the womens vote has always disappointed its proponents from the 1916 presidential race when suffragists failed to defeat Woodrow Wilson, to the Equal Rights Amendment, which was defeated in the 70s by conservative women arguing middle-class ones would be set back.
Lost on too many in the last election cycle was just how much of an uphill battle Clinton faced, not just for winning over the electorate, but for winning womens votes at all.