Beliefs About the Nature of Sex/Gender and Ethnic Inequality ROB EISINGA* AGNES VAN DEN ELZEN** and MIEKE VERLOO*** ABSTRACT This research examines five lay explanations of the nature of sex/gender inequality - supernat- ural, genetic, individualistic, cultural, and social - and empirically links these beliefs to lay theories about the nature of ethnic inequality. Using data from a sample of Dutch metropolitan residents, it was found that supernatural, genetic and individualistic explanations of men-women differences are strongly related and that all correlate negatively with a social and a cultural view. The findings also showed that beliefs about sex/gender inequality and beliefs about ethnic inequality are remark- ably similar; the greater the acceptance, for example, of a genetic or supernatural explanation of men-women inequality, the greater the likelihood of a genetic and supernatural belief about ethnic inequality. Significant relationships were observed between lay beliefs and church membership, ed- ucation, age, sex-role traditionalism and Christian belief. No differences in explanations were found between male and female respondents. Introduction One of the most passionate debates in feminist literature concerns the subject of difference: are there sex/gender differences, where do they come from, and can and should they be changed? On a
International Journal of Comparative Sociology (in 2002 continued as Comparative Sociology) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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