THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GENDER TRAITS AND AMBIVALENT SEXISM
Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Gender still constitutes a relevant variable in many settings whether we simply pay attention to the overwhelming unbalanced percentage of women and men occupying positions of high status and power. One of the factors that contribute to this gender inequality, that advantage men and disadvantage women, is the existence of what is called ambivalent sexism. This construct includes both hostile and benevolent sexism, which are positively related between them; thus indicating the ambivalent attitudes that people may have toward women. The first one explicitly communicates antipathy, as it is an adversarial view of gender relations. It reflects men’s superiority and dominance over women. On the contrary, benevolent sexism seems to shape a positive attitude toward women, but in fact it implies positive attitudes, or “rewards” for traditional women, by idealizing women who enact traditional roles. The internalization of these hostile and benevolent attitudes could be a consequence of gender identity (femininity/expressive and masculinity/instrumental). The aim of this study is, on the one hand, to explore how undergraduate students perceive themselves in terms of gender traits (i.e., instrumental and expressive attributes) and, on the other hand, to examine the relationship between self-ratings of gender traits and ambivalently sexist attitudes towards women. The participants were 120 undergraduate students (n = 32 men and n = 88 women). They rated themselves on instrumental and expressive traits based on the Bern Sex Role Inventory (Bem, 1974) and also ambivalently sexist attitudes based on the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (Glick & Fiske, 1996). As expected, the results show that women self-described in a more expressive way, while men rated themselves in a more instrumental manner. In addition, participants have a low degree of sexist attitudes and both sub-scales correlated positively. Some expressive attributes, such as warmth or childlike correlated positively with benevolent sexism, while only one instrumental trait (egoism) correlated with hostile sexism in a positive way. Those findings display the role of gender traits in the configuration of the attitudes towards women. The implications of the results for education and university teaching-learning process, and future research guidelines are also discussed.
Keywords: Gender traits, hostile sexism, benevolent sexism, undergraduate students.