Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 1–2, pp 51–61 | Cite as

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

  • Rocio Garcia-RetameroEmail author
  • Esther López-ZafraEmail author
Original Article


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 



We are deeply indebted to Alice H. Eagly for her helpful discussion of the results and comments on previous drafts of this article. We also thank her for her intellectual encouragement. We gratefully acknowledge two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and Anita Todd and Donna Alexander for editing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Adaptive Behavior and CognitionMax Plank Institute for Human DevelopmentBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Departamento de PsicologíaÁrea de Psicología SocialJaénSpain

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