It is now commonly accepted that democratic elections with increased female participation and representation is an essential element of peacebuilding in post-conflict societies. Yet, women are not a monolithic group and their needs are not homogeneous. This is especially the case in post-conflict societies marked by long-standing ethno-national antagonisms, where issues surrounding female unity and women’s political participation are often considered secondary to resolving the national identity question. Using data from the 2015 Northern Ireland Election Survey, this article examines female differences in electoral turnout between the two main religious groupings—Protestant and Catholic—in Northern Ireland. The results suggest the existence of a significant religious gap in electoral turnout among women, with Catholic women been significantly more likely to vote than Protestant women. A key factor in accounting for this phenomenon is differences in political engagement and levels of trust in political leaders.
Bibliographical noteFunding: This study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (Award: ES/L007320/1).
- Northern Ireland