Male students prefer to protect freedom of expression over an inclusive and diverse society by a decisive 61 to 39. Female students took the opposite position, favoring an inclusive and diverse society over freedom of expression by 64 to 35.
The data comes from a 2017 Knight Foundation survey of 3,014 college students who were asked, “If you had to choose, what do you think is more important, a diverse and inclusive society or protecting free speech rights? ”.
empathy and freedom
Women are also more likely than men to believe that colleges should protect students from exposure to controversial speakers whose ideas can create an uncomfortable learning environment.
We are, therefore, before a gender gap in political tolerance, with women somewhat more willing to censor controversial and potentially harmful ideas. This gap dates back to the first research surveys on the subject in the 1950s.
There are a number of possible explanations, including “stronger religious and moral attitudes among women; less political participation resulting in weaker support for democratic norms; social psychological factors such as intolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty that translate into intolerance of political and social nonconformity; as well as increased susceptibility to feelings of threat posed by unconventional ideas and groups.
This survey is revealing about 137,456 freshmen at 184 colleges and universities in the United States. Thus, the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute found that “the largest gender gap in terms of political leanings: 41.1 percent of women, an all-time high, identified as far left, compared to 28.9 percent of men”.