Gender Stereotypes Influence How People Explain Gender Disparities in the Workplace

Jessica L. Cundiff, Theresa K. Vescio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gender stereotypes provide viable explanations for why women are underrepresented and men are overrepresented in senior leadership positions and STEM occupations, typically by attributing gender disparities to the dispositions of women and men. The present research examined whether stereotypes also influence attributions to discrimination. Consistent with predictions, undergraduate participants who strongly vs. weakly endorsed gender stereotypes, either chronically (Study 1, N = 147) or when situationally primed (Study 2, N = 258), were less likely to attribute gender disparities in the workplace to discrimination. In addition, participants unexpectedly made stronger discrimination attributions when explaining gender gaps in leadership positions than in STEM occupations, suggesting that interventions for addressing gender discrimination may need to use different strategies for different contexts. Overall, results are consistent with the notion that stereotypes influence explanations for group disparities in ways that justify existing social arrangements as fair, just, and legitimate. Our findings have implications for understanding when people will acknowledge discrimination, which is an important first step toward addressing discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-138
Number of pages13
JournalSex Roles
Volume75
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Gender Stereotypes Influence How People Explain Gender Disparities in the Workplace'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this