Gendered norms for family size, employment, and occupation: Are there personal costs for violating them?
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The present study investigated gendered stereotypes involving women’s family size, employment, and occupation. Eleven ratings of targets’ social and personality characteristics were ascribed by 400 undergraduates to a hypothetical married woman described as voluntarily childfree or the mother of one, two, or eight children, and as nonemployed or employed either part or full time in either a gender-appropriate or gender-inappropriate occupation. Women employed in gender-atypical occupations were considered less expressive and were socially distanced, but this factor did not interact with family size. Two-children mothers were regarded favorably as was employment. Prior findings denigrating single-child mothers and glorifying eight-children mothers were not replicated—both groups were rated similar to normative, two-children mothers. Consistent with prior research, childfree women were evaluated least favorably. Findings suggest that norms regarding both family size (two children) and employment exist among contemporary college students.
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