Despite widespread change in gender roles, women continue to have less power than men. From the perspective of social role theory, this gender difference in power should be perceived as eroding as women gain access to male-dominated roles typically associated with power. Study 1's open-ended reports nearly unanimously projected an increase in women's power over the next 50 years, whereas responses were equally split between projecting stability or a decrease in men's power. Study 2's quantitative findings illustrated that participants perceived women as gaining in political, economic, occupational, individual, and relational power from the past into the future. In contrast, men were perceived as decreasing in relational power but maintaining levels of other forms of power over time. Despite the projections of increases in women's power, women were not projected to reach parity with men by 2050. We examine the implications of these beliefs for future social change.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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