Men rate progress toward gender equality more favorably than do women. Across two studies with U.S. undergraduate samples, we explore whether this difference in perceived progress stems from a gender difference in chosen reference points. Using ANOVA and regression, we demonstrate that men (n = 33) assess progress relative to the past more than to the goal of full equality. In contrast, women (n = 46) assess progress relative to full equality as much as to the past. As a result, current progress seems more substantial to men than to women. Experimental manipulation of reference points led men (n = 60) and women (n = 60) to adopt the same reference point and, consequently, to offer similar assessments of progress.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 28, 2010
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