Everyday sexism: Evidence for its incidence, nature, and psychological impact from three daily diary studies

Janet K. Swim, Laurie L. Cohen, Lauri L. Hyers, Melissa J. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

444 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three daily diary studies were conducted to examine the incidence, nature, and impact of everyday sexism as reported by college women and men. Women experienced about one to two impactful sexist incidents per week, consisting of traditional gender role stereotypes and prejudice, demeaning and degrading comments and behaviors, and sexual objectification. These incidents affected women's psychological well-being by decreasing their comfort, increasing their feelings of anger and depression, and decreasing their state self-esteem. Although the experiences had similar effects on men's anger, depression, and state self-esteem, men reported relatively fewer sexist incidents, suggesting less overall impact on men. The results provide evidence for the phenomena of everyday prejudice and enlighten our understanding of the experience of prejudice in interpersonal encounters from the perspective of the target. Where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places, close to home-so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood . . . the school or college . . . the factory, farm or office. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-53
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

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