Political Research Quarterly
Supreme Court Judges -- Selection and appointment -- Evaluation, Women judges
While existing literature has established that women leaders are stereotyped as more likely to uphold the norms of democracy, the power of this effect in the non-democratic context is not established. We address this gap and argue that the context of regime transition cultivates a unique dynamic in which the stereotypes associated with women justices become especially valuable to both citizens and the state. However, we argue that this perception of women contributing to the health of democracy is not constant across all citizens equally; instead, those people with high levels of hostile bias against women are more likely to view women as the potential saviors of the democracy. To test our theories, we offer original survey data from Thailand and Poland, two countries in the midst of regime transition. We find evidence that suggests that the impact of women justices on assessments of democratic health is indeed dependent on hostile bias in Thailand, but that the relationship is not found in Poland. Our results suggest that bias can sometimes operate in unexpected ways, and that scholars should consider multiple measures of different types of bias when investigating its effects on behavior.
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Published as: Shortell, C., & Valdini, M. E. (2023). Madame Justice Will Save Our Democracy: Gender Bias and Perceptions of the High Court in Transitional Regimes. Political Research Quarterly, 10659129231169712.