Historically, interest in politics has been gauged solely by rates of participation in formal politics, or government, overlooking social psychological barriers to participation and community level work. Thus, in order to investigate gender differences in political interest directly, in Study 1, we designed and validated a Political Interest Questionnaire consisting of political activities both inside and outside of government. In Study 2, men and women completed this questionnaire while considering one of two social issues. Across both studies, results failed to demonstrate gender differences in interest in political activity inside government, but gender differences emerged for political activity outside of government, with women expressing stronger interest. In Study 2, tests of mediation demonstrated that interest in political activity outside of government was partially explained by gender differences in social dominance orientation and by perceptions that this form of political behaviour is highly effective in creating social change. Implications for research exploring gender differences in political interest are discussed and future areas of research are recommended.