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The Great Global Drone Gender Gap

A new global survey from the Pew Research Center has revealed a striking difference of opinion along gender lines. The issue? Drone strikes. “It’s one of the most extreme gender differences we’ve ever seen [on an issue],” Bruce Stokes, Director of the Global Economic Program at the Pew Research Center, told Foreign Policy. In 31 ...

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

A new global survey from the Pew Research Center has revealed a striking difference of opinion along gender lines. The issue? Drone strikes.

“It’s one of the most extreme gender differences we’ve ever seen [on an issue],” Bruce Stokes, Director of the Global Economic Program at the Pew Research Center, told Foreign Policy.

In 31 out of 39 countries surveyed, at least half of respondents disapprove of U.S. drone strikes “targeting extremists in places such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” When looking at the gender break down, double-digit gaps were found in many countries with the highest gap in Japan where 41 percent of men approve of U.S. drone strikes while only 10 percent of women do. (The gender divide grew in Japan this year — last year 32 percent of men approved while only 11 percent of women did.)

 

While the gender gap appears in surveys of military force, with men more often favoring the use of force over women, Stokes said the survey shows that the Obama administration’s approval challenges with drones lie predominantly with women. (Overall, only three countries surveyed had majorities that supported drone strikes: Israel (64 percent), the U.S. (61 percent), and Kenya (56 percent).)

Although it remains unclear exactly why so many women are opposed to the use of drones, Stokes said the high visibility of drones in the media as well as collateral damage in strikes often involving women and children could have played into opinion.

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