Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 51-61

First online:

Prejudice against Women in Male-congenial Environments: Perceptions of Gender Role Congruity in Leadership

  • Rocio Garcia-RetameroAffiliated withCenter for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Plank Institute for Human Development Email author 
  • , Esther López-ZafraAffiliated withDepartamento de Psicología, Área de Psicología Social Email author 

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Some authors assert that there is a feminine advantage in leadership, even though female leaders are often targets of prejudice. Our experiment tested how people’s expectations affect this prejudice in different work environments. Participants evaluated a male or a female candidate for a leadership position in an industry that was congruent or incongruent with the candidate’s gender role. Participants showed prejudice against the female candidate, especially when she worked in an industry incongruent with her gender role. Female and older participants showed more prejudice against the female leader than did male and younger participants. These results invoke role congruity theory (Eagly & Karau, Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological Review, 109, 573–598, 2002).


Causal attributions Gender Gender identity Leadership Prejudice Role congruity Sex Transformational leadership Women