Sex Roles

, Volume 77, Issue 1–2, pp 30–45 | Cite as

The Best Is Yet to Come? Attitudes Toward Gender Roles Among Adolescents in 36 Countries

  • Giulia M. Dotti SaniEmail author
  • Mario Quaranta
Original Article


In the present article, we look at attitudes toward gender roles among young women and men in 36 countries with different levels of societal gender inequality. By applying multilevel models to data from the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study 2009, the study contributes to our understanding of gender inequality by showing that (a) both young women and young men (in 8th grade; Mage = 14.39 years) display more gender-egalitarian attitudes in countries with higher levels of societal gender equality; (b) young women in all countries have more egalitarian attitudes toward gender roles than young men do, but (c) the gender gap in attitudes is more evident in more egalitarian contexts; and (d) a higher level of maternal education is associated with more gender-egalitarian attitudes among young women. In contrast, no statistically significant association emerges between maternal employment and young men’s attitudes. Overall, the findings suggest that adolescents in different contexts are influenced by the dominant societal discourse on gender inequality, which they interiorize and display through their own attitudes toward gender roles. However, the findings also indicate that young women are more responsive to external cues than young men are. This result, coupled with the fact that young men in egalitarian contexts have not adopted gender-egalitarian attitudes to the same extent as young women, is concerning because it suggests a slowdown in the achievement of societal gender equality that is still far from being reached.


Adolescents Gender equality Attitudes toward gender roles Parental education International civic and citizenship education study 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of Human Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

11199_2016_698_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
ESM (DOCX 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Collegio Carlo AlbertoMoncalieriItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Humanities and Social SciencesScuola Normale SuperiorePisaItaly

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