The striking under-representation of women in Japan has been partly attributed to gender stereotypes and prejudice toward female leadership among voters. We examine whether and to what extent candidates get rewarded or punished when they deviate from the behavioral expectations associated with their gender roles and images. Our conjoint experiment results in Japan demonstrate that not only are female candidates disadvantaged compared to their male counterparts, but also that they could lose support when they diverge from gender-based behavioral expectations. Our findings suggest that female candidates face a difficult dilemma in that they must weigh the cost of losing support for failing to conform to gender-based expectations, against the general loss of support they would incur for conforming to these expectations.
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