chapter  10
32 Pages

Gender, Knowledge, and Social Capital

ByElisabeth Gidengil, Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, N eil Nevitte, and And ré Blais

Putnam ’s neglect of the gender dimension is a critical oversight in his understanding of the link between social capital and political knowledge.28 Just as gender segregation in voluntary associations makes for gendered forms of social capital, so “contacts with men are a different form of social capital than contacts with women.”29 The point is that w om en’s social capital may be less instrumentally valuable when it comes to the sort of resources that men control.30 Politics is still very much a m an’s world, and gendered forms of social capital may mean that men get exposed to more information about that world than women do. One reason that w om en’s social ties are less instrumentally valuable in this regard is because their ties are much more likely than m en’s to be restricted to people with similar backgrounds, skill sets, and social resources, resulting in less varied and more redundant sources of information.