The Joy of Sexism? A Multinational Investigation of Hostile and Benevolent Justifications for Gender Inequality and Their Relations to Subjective Well-Being

Abstract

Previous research on system justification theory suggests that beliefs that rationalize inequalities are related to subjective well-being. We examine how “complementary” (hostile and benevolent) justifications of gender inequality may serve a palliative function for both men and women. Using multilevel modeling and data from 32 countries (N’s = 362 to 5160), we find that relationships between hostile and benevolent justifications and life satisfaction are moderated by the degree of gender inequality at the national level. In relatively egalitarian nations, individuals who endorse “complementary” justifications are higher on life satisfaction compared to those who endorse an exclusively hostile justification. In nations with high gender inequality, there is no difference in life satisfaction for those who endorse exclusively hostile vs. complementary justifications.

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Correspondence to Jaime L. Napier.

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Napier, J.L., Thorisdottir, H. & Jost, J.T. The Joy of Sexism? A Multinational Investigation of Hostile and Benevolent Justifications for Gender Inequality and Their Relations to Subjective Well-Being. Sex Roles 62, 405–419 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-009-9712-7

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Keywords

  • System justification
  • Complementary stereotypes
  • Subjective well-being