Past research on the gender gap in political attitudes and behavior has paid very little attention to the experiences of nonwhites. Does the gender gap in the extent and direction of voting participation and political orientation vary across racial groups? Specifically, how significant is the role of gender among Asian Americans when compared to that in other racial groups? According to recent census surveys, Asian American women have attained an overall level of educational achievement and income status comparable to or even surpassing that of non-Hispanic white women. Their seemingly privileged socioeconomic position presents an interesting opportunity to study the interplay of race and gender on a group of nonwhite women whose economic class is not predominantly a lower one. As women of color, which of the dual identities - race or gender - may prevail to structure their political attitudes and behavior? CONSIDERING ASIAN AMERICANS
Historically, Asian women were prevented from participating in U.S.
mainstream politics. Only one-fifth of white women attain this level of education. The apparent superior socioeconomic position of Asian women in comparison to white women presents an interesting opportunity to study the interplay of race and gender when the economic classification of a group of nonwhite women is not predominantly low. The result is that Asian women receive only a portion of what Asian or white men earn; and the less-educated Asian women receive less income reward than their white male or female counterparts.
Like white women, highly educated Asian women still suffer from gender discrimination. Unlike white women, less educated Asian women have to confront an additional form of oppression related to race. Perhaps because of this dual oppression in race and class, the gender gaps in earned income returns and median income among Asians are rendered smaller than those separating white women...