Sexist men earn more

Sexist men earn more

A large new US study found that sexist men earned more, that is men with more traditional views on the work and home roles of women on average earned higher salaries than men with more egalitarian views about gender roles. The study also found that women with a more egalitarian outlook did not earn much more than women with more traditional views.

The research was the the work of Dr Timothy Judge, Matherly-McKethan Eminent Scholar at the Department of Management, Warrington College of Business, University of Florida, and colleague Beth Livingston, a PhD candidate in the same department at the University of Florida, and is published in the September issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Judge said in a press statement that:

"More traditional people may be seeking to preserve the historical separation of work and domestic roles. Our results prove that is, in fact, the case."

"This is happening even in today's work force where men and women are supposedly equal as far as participation," he added.

Judge and Livingston analyzed data from a nationally representative study of over 12,500 men and women who were interviewed four times during 1979 to 2005. Their ages ranged from 14 to 22 at the start of the study, and 60 per cent of them stayed for the whole duration.

At each interview participants were asked about their views on gender roles at work and at home. The questions ranged from whether they thought a woman's place was in the home, did working mothers increase juvenile delinquency, should the man be the main achiever outside the home, and should the woman be mainly concerned with caring for home and family.

Previous studies have suggested that men hold more traditional views about gender roles than women, although the gap is closing.

The participants also answered a range of other questions about their circumstances, such as marital status, earnings, upbringing, religious background, education, and work outside of the home.

Judge and Livingston were particularly interested in how the views of the participants were linked to their earnings. After taking into account job complexity, how many hours they worked, and education, they found that male participants who had more traditional attitudes toward gender roles earned on average about 8,500 dollars a year more than men with less traditional views.

Curiously for women the findings revealed the reverse; women with more traditional views earned an average of 1,500 dollars a year less than women with more egalitarian views on gender roles.

Viewed from another angle, the data also showed that the earnings gap between husband and wife was eight times greater in married couples where both partners held traditional views compared to married couples where both partners held egalitarian views.

Judge said the findings showed there was a significant link between attitudes to gender role and pay equity:

"When workers' attitudes become more traditional, women's earnings relative to men suffer greatly. When attitudes become more egalitarian, the pay gap nearly disappears," he added.

Judge and Livingston found the results did not change much when they took account of possible influencers such as industry sector, occupation, number of hours worked, and number of children.

"These results cannot be explained by the fact that, in traditional couples, women are less likely to work outside the home," said Judge.

He explained that regardless of potential influencing factors like working hours and whether women worked ouside the home or not, the results showed that women holding traditional views were paid less than men with traditional views for comparable work.

Judge and Livingston also found that Northeastern city dwellers had the most egalitarian views about gender roles, as did people whose parents had both worked outside the home. Younger people tended to have less traditional views, but these became more traditional as they got older; and the more traditional views on gender roles were held mostly by married, religious people.

The researchers suggested further studies should investigate the relationships between happiness and attitudes to work among people with different views on gender roles, because they suspect more money and happiness aren't necessarily coincidental for certain groups.

Judge and Livingston also suggested that these findings aren't just reflecting an economic phenomenon but a psychological one too.

"Our country's policies have been leaning toward gender equality for decades now," said Judge, "but, according to our study, traditional gender role views continue to work against this goal."

A psychologist from Winchester University in the UK, Dr Magdalena Zawisza, proposed a number of explanations for the findings. She told BBC News that more traditionally minded men could be more power-oriented, for instance toward money and in having a more submissive woman for a partner.

Another possible explanation, said Zawisza, was that employers were more likely to promote men who were the sole breadwinner, because their families only had their income to depend on.

"Is the gap more than gender? A longitudinal analysis of gender, gender role orientation, and earnings."

Judge, Timothy A.; Livingston, Beth A.

Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 93(5), Sep 2008, 994-1012.

DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.93.5.994

Click here for Article (PDF).

Source: journal abstract, APA, BBC News.

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Section Issues On Medicine: Psychiatry