University of Gothenburg
Line graph of left-right self placement among women and men 1968-2022. Women placed themselves more to the right than men until the 1980's.
Source: Ahlbom, Jakob & Richard Karlsson (2023).

The Move of Men to the Right. Explaining shifting political gender gaps in Sweden 1956-2022

The aim of this project is to investigate gender gaps in party choice and ideological left-right orientation in Sweden over a period of 70 years, 1956-2022.

In contrast to previous research, which mostly focus on the situation of women in society and why they are more left-leaning than men, our project highlight that one of the major changes in Swedish politics is that men as a group has moved to the right of women as a group. It is the movement of men, rather than changes among women, that lies behind today's political gender gaps.

We identify two movements to the right among men (i) one that took place in the 1970s/1980s and meant that men began to vote for the Moderate Party to a greater extent than women and (ii) one that started around 2010 and meant an increased gender difference in support for the Sweden Democratic Party. We develop arguments for why these movements are distinct and test hypotheses about structural transformations in the labor market and value shifts in the public sphere. The project is carried out in close collaboration with the Swedish National
Election Studies Program at the University of Gothenburg. It builds on voter surveys, parliamentary surveys, and party manifestos. We do experiments to tease out causality. The analytical method is statistical interference. The project will increase the understanding of the move of men to the right of women and thereby deepen the understanding of today's political gender gaps.