How have gender stereotypes changed in the last 30 years?

Article title: The Times They Are A-Changing…Or Are They Not? A Comparison of Gender Stereotypes, 1983 to 2014

From Psychology of Women Quarterly

This study finds that gender stereotypes are as strong today as they were 30 years ago, and that people are even more likely now to believe that men avoid “traditional” female roles. “ Changes in the activities and representation of women and men in society have unquestionably occurred since the early 1980s; however, those changes apparently have not been sufficient to alter strongly held and seemingly functional beliefs about the basic social category of gender,” commented researchers Elizabeth L. Haines, Kay Deaux and Nicole Lofaro

The study authors compared data from 195 college students in 1983 to data from 191 adults in 2014.The study participants from each time period rated the likelihood that a typical man or woman has a set of gendered characteristics. The researchers found that despite greater diversity in the 2014 sample, people continue to strongly stereotype men and women on personality traits, gender role behaviors, occupations and physical characteristics.


During the past 30 years, women’s participation in the workforce, in athletics, and in professional education has increased, while men’s activities have been more stable. Have gender stereotypes changed over this time period to reflect the new realities? And, to what extent does gender stereotyping exist today? We address these questions by comparing data collected in the early 1980s to new data collected in 2014. In each study, participants rated the likelihood that a typical man or woman has a set of gendered characteristics (traits, role behaviors, occupations, and physical characteristics). Results indicate that people perceive strong differences between men and women on stereotype components today, as they did in the past. Comparisons between the two time periods show stability of gender stereotypes across all components except female gender roles, which showed a significant increase in gender stereotyping. These results attest to the durability of basic stereotypes about how men and women are perceived to differ, despite changes in the participation and acceptance of women and men in nontraditional domains. Because gender stereotypes are apparently so deeply embedded in our society, those in a position to evaluate women and men, as well as women and men themselves, need to be constantly vigilant to the possible influence of stereotypes on their judgments, choices, and actions.


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Article details
Elizabeth L. Haines, Kay Deaux, and Nicole Lofaro
The Times They Are a-Changing … or Are They Not? A Comparison of Gender Stereotypes, 1983–2014
Psychology of Women Quarterly 0361684316634081, first published on March 9, 2016 doi:10.1177/0361684316634081





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