Bos Awarded Fulbright to Study Early Political Socialization of Dutch Children

WOOSTER, Ohio – Angie Bos, associate professor of political science and associate dean for experiential learning at The College of Wooster, has been awarded a Fulbright to the Netherlands to conduct research on Dutch children’s early political socialization and to teach a course on Women and Politics at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in spring 2021.

Bos’ current research examines gendered political socialization. Women remain significantly underrepresented at all levels of U.S. government, and are generally less engaged in political life than men. But while political scientists have long pointed to the importance of early socialization experiences in shaping political attitudes and behavior, there has been no research specifically on how early gendered socialization contributes to later gender gaps in political engagement.

“University of Amsterdam is an ideal host institution for me: having institutions, programs, and faculty focused on gender and representation will facilitate collaboration and discussion of research and teaching in my areas of expertise,” said Bos. “UvA has invited me to present at and attend lectures in multiple research groups and centers. Having honed my skills as a teacher and mentor for undergraduates in a small liberal arts college in the U.S., I am excited by the prospect of teaching a course on Women and Politics (my field of expertise and related to the research I will conduct) at UvA.”

Bos hopes to connect her research to the broader Amsterdam community by giving lectures for elementary teachers and at Atria, the Institute on Gender Equality and Women’s History.

Through Fulbright, Bos will extend her research on gendered political socialization in the U.S. to the Dutch context. With collaborators at Brandeis University, Tulane University, and Union College, Bos developed a novel research project in which they surveyed and interviewed grade school children. Their work explores how early gender socialization shapes how children perceive politics as a masculine domain and whether gender gaps observed in adults begin in childhood.

Over the past two years, with the help of numerous Wooster students and other volunteers, Bos and her colleagues have completed interviews or surveys with approximately 1,200 first through sixth grade students in Boston, New Orleans, Schenectady, N.Y., and northeast Ohio. Each child was given paper and crayons and asked to draw what they think of when they picture “a political leader at work.” They were then asked follow-up questions about what the leader was doing in the picture, what the leader does on a typical day, and what three words came to mind when describing that leader. Other questions explored their knowledge of U.S. politics and political leaders, the frequency with which they read or watch television programs about politics and government, and basic demographic information.

The research team has produced multiple published works, including an article in the journal Politics & Gender, a book chapter entitled “Drawing Madame President: How Children Imagine Clinton as a Political Leader” in a forthcoming book titled The Hillary Effect: Perspectives on Clinton’s Legacy, and multiple forthcoming articles. Their article “Children’s Views of Political Leadership,” will be published later this year in the Public Opinion Quarterly and is highlighted by The Conversation in the article “What do kids think of the president?” Another piece, “100 Years of Suffrage and Girls Still Struggle to Find their ‘Fit’ in Politics,” is forthcoming at PS: Political Science and Politics.

While on her Fulbright, Bos will collaborate with Dutch scholars Daphne van der Pas and Loes Aaldering to extend her U.S. work and uncover whether gendered political socialization functions similarly in the more gender egalitarian context of the Netherlands.

Bos has received numerous awards for her research, including but not limited to the Elsie Hillman Prize to scholars embarking on significant research in the area of women and politics from the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, the Mid-Career Impact Award from the Gender and Political Psychology Network, and a grant from the National Science Foundation for new research on gender in political psychology.

She also has been a leader at Wooster in developing innovative pedogagies and facilitating faculty development in quantitative literacy and experiential learning.

Since its inception in 1946, more than 390,000 scholars have participated in the Fulbright program, including 60 Nobel Laureates, 86 Pulitzer Prize winners, 74 MacArthur Fellows and thousands of leaders across a variety of sectors.