Chivalry’s Double-edged Sword: How Girls’ and Boys’ Paternalistic Attitudes Relate to Their Possible Family and Work Selves
- 840 Downloads
Paternalism refers to the ideology that women need men’s protection (Glick and Fiske 2001), which is associated with greater acceptance of the gender status quo (Jost and Kay 2005) and lower feelings of agency and competence among women (Dumont et al. 2010). To consider the potential impact of paternalistic attitudes during adolescence, we investigated girls’ and boys’ paternalistic attitudes in relation to their possible family and career selves. The sample comprised 201 U.S. adolescents from California high schools (Mage = 17.49 years; 46% girls) from ethnically diverse backgrounds (49% White, 26% Asian, 25% other). Participants completed survey measures of paternalistic attitudes, possible family and work selves, and other constructs. Possible work selves included occupations traditionally associated with men (computers, science, business/law, and action-oriented jobs [e.g., firefighter, mechanic]) or with women (elementary-school teacher and aesthetic-oriented jobs [e.g., fashion model, dancer]). There were significant average gender differences in paternalism (boys higher), future family hopes (girls higher), future careers associated with women (girls higher), and most future careers associated with men (boys higher); we found no significant gender difference in business/law career interest. Paternalistic attitudes significantly predicted several aspects of possible selves in hypothesized directions: future family hopes (positive association for girls and boys), future business/law and action-oriented careers (positive for boys), aesthetic-oriented careers (positive for girls), and science careers (negative for girls). Other hypothesized patterns were not indicated. Findings are interpreted as reflecting the potential influences of paternalistic attitudes in the formation of adolescents’ possible family and work selves.
KeywordsGender role attitudes Sexism Identity formation Occupational aspirations Family
The research was supported by a grant from the Academic Senate Committee on Research of the University of California, Santa Cruz to Campbell Leaper. Preliminary findings from this study were presented at the Fifth Biennial Gender Development Research Conference, April 2012, San Francisco. Bonnie Glenesk, Katrina Hoagland, Alana Kivowitz, Tyler LeTourneau, Alexa Paynter, Payton Small, Stacey Storey, and Chaconne Tatum-Diehl are thanked for their assistance. Antoinette Wilson, Rachael Robnett, Veronica Hamilton, and Christine Starr are appreciated for their suggestions. Doug Bonnet is thanked for his assistance with statistical analyses.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Research involving human participants
The Institutional Review Board at the authors’ university reviewed and approved the research protocol.
Informed consent was secured from all participants.
- American Bar Association. (2014). A current glance at women in the law: July 2014. Retrieved from http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/marketing/women/current_glance_statistics_july2014.authcheckdam.pdf
- Catalyst. (2014, March 3). Statistical overview of women in the workplace. Retrieved from http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/statistica-overview-women-workplace.
- Diekman, A. B., & Eagly, A. H. (2008). Of men, women, and motivation: A role congruity account. In J. Y. Shah & W. L. Gardner (Eds.), Handbook of motivation science (pp. 434–447). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: Norton & Company.Google Scholar
- Glick, P., & Hilt, L. (2000). Combative children to ambivalent adults: The development of gender prejudice. In T. Eckes & H. N. Trautner (Eds.), The developmental social psychology of gender (pp. 243–272). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Glick, P., Fiske, S. T., Mladinic, A., Saiz, J. L., Abrams, D., Masser, B., … López, W. L. (2000). Beyond prejudice as simple antipathy: Hostile and benevolent sexism across cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 763–775. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.113
- Leaper, C. (2015). Gender and social-cognitive development. In R. M. Lerner, L. S. Liben, & U. Muller (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology and developmental science (7th ed.), Vol. 2: Cognitive processes (pp. 806–853). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Liben, L. S., & Bigler, R. S. (2002). The developmental course of gender differentiation: Conceptualizing, measuring, and evaluating constructs and pathways. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 67(2, Serial No. 269). doi:10.1111/1540-5834.t01-1-00187
- Montañés, P., de Lemus, S., Bohner, G., Megías, J. L., Moya, M., & Garcia-Retamero, R. (2012). Intergenerational transmission of benevolent sexism from mothers to daughters and its relation to daughters’ academic performance and goals. Sex Roles, 66, 468–478. doi:10.1007/s11199-011-0116-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- National Science Foundation. (2010). Bachelor’s degrees, by sex and field: 2001–2010. Retrieved from http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/pdf/tab5-1.pdf
- National Science Foundation. (2015). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering. Washington: National Science Foundation.Google Scholar
- Parker, K., & Wang, W. (2013). Modern parenthood: Roles of moms and dads converge as they balance work and family. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2013/03/FINAL_modern_parenthood_03-2013.pdf
- Smith, S. L., Choueiti, M., Prescott, A., & Pieper, K. (2012). Gender roles & occupations: A look at character attributes and job-related aspirations in film and television. Los Angeles: Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California. Retrieved from http://seejane.org/research-informs-empowers/.Google Scholar
- Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. F. (1978). Masculinity and femininity: Their psychological dimensions, correlates, and antecedents. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Labor. (2012). Facts over time: Women in the labor force. Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/facts_over_time.htm#wilf
- U.S. Department of Labor. (2014). Household data: Annual Averages: Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.pdf
- UNESCO. (2012). World atlas of gender equity in education. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.Google Scholar
- West, M. S., & Curtis, J. W. (2006). AAUP faculty gender equity indicators 2006. Washington: American Association of University Professors.Google Scholar