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Climate-Change Knowledge Follows Gender Divide

Date Posted: 
September 23, 2010
Population and Environment

A study recently published in Population and Environment found that although U.S. women don’t think they understand as much about climate change as men, in fact they know more, and they’re more concerned about it. The research was performed by Aaron McCright at Michigan State University using results from eight Gallup polls from 2001 to 2008 that focused specifically on environmental issues. The results show slight, yet statistically significant, differences between the sexes: “a greater percentage of women than men believe that global warming is happening now (59% to 54%) and is primarily caused by human activities (64% to 56%). Also, a greater percentage of women than men (66% to 60%) agree that most scientists believe global warming is happening.” More women than men (35-37% versus 28-29%) worry about global warming, think it will threaten their way of life, and believe its seriousness is underreported by the media.

What does this mean? In an interview with ScienceDaily, McCright said scientists and policymakers might want to consider this difference when they communicate about climate change with the general public—not everyone receives the message the same way. (Perhaps it might also be useful to have a more equal gender balance among policymakers.)