Federalism is associated with a range of political values, but their institutiolization in practice varies significantly. This article uses a new empirical approach to measuring "federal political culture" through the Australian Constitutiol Values Survey, to explore the gap between theory and reality. It presents alysis by gender to demonstrate the approach, highlighting the importance of resolving the mix of theory and practice needed to understand contemporary preferences in institutiol design. Overall, Australians were shown to be predomintly federalist in their values. However, women were on average somewhat stronger federalists than men, being stronger supporters of decentralism and legal diversity, while also being somewhat less likely than men to consider that Australia's present system delivers adequately on these values. The findings contribute to federal reform debates.