, Volume 62, Issue 7-8, pp 438-452
Date: 11 Oct 2009

An Opposing Process Model of Benevolent Sexism

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An Opposing Process Model outlining the pathways through which individual differences in Benevolent Sexism (BS) simultaneously enhance and attenuate support for gender equality of income and employment opportunity is presented. Results from a New Zealand electoral sample (N = 336) indicated that BS predicted Hostile Sexism (HS), and thus indirectly opposition toward gender-related policies (a hierarchy-enhancing effect). For women, BS also directly predicted attitudes toward gender equality in the opposing, supportive direction (a hierarchy-attenuating effect). Analyses of a 9-month longitudinal sample of undergraduate women substantiated these results (Study II; N = 170). In stable societies, the dual opposing effects of BS seem to form a system where hierarchy-enhancing and hierarchy-attenuating processes tend toward homeostasis or equilibrium within the population.