Although the number of U.S. female professors has risen steadily in recent years, female professors are still subject to different student expectations and treatment. Students continue to perceive and expect female professors to be more nurturing than male professors are. We examined whether students may consequently request more special favors from female professors. In a survey of professors (n = 88) across the United States, Study 1 found that female (versus male) professors reported getting more requests for standard work demands, special favors, and friendship behaviors, with the latter two mediating the professor gender effect on professors’ self-reported emotional labor. Study 2 utilized an experimental design using a fictitious female or male professor, with college student participants (n = 121) responding to a scenario in which a special favor request might be made of the professor. The results indicated that academically entitled students (i.e., those who feel deserving of success in college regardless of effort/performance) had stronger expectations that a female (versus male) professor would grant their special favor requests. Those expectations consequently increased students’ likelihood of making the requests and of exhibiting negative emotional and behavioral reactions to having those requests denied. This work highlights the extra burdens felt by female professors. We discuss possible moderators of these effects as well as the importance of developing strategies for preventing them.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Bachen, C. M., McLoughlin, M. M., & Garcia, S. S. (1999). Assessing the role of gender in college students’ evaluations of faculty. Communication Education, 48, 193–210. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634529909379169.
Barreto, M., Ryan, M., & Schmitt, M. (Eds.). (2009). The glass ceiling in the 21 st century: Understanding barriers to gender equality. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Basow, S. A. (1995). Student evaluations of college professors: When gender matters. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87, 656–665. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-06188.8.131.526.
Basow, S. A. (1998). Student evaluations: The role of gender bias and teaching styles. In L. H. Collins, J. C. Chrisler, & K. Quina (Eds.), Career strategies for women in academe: Arming Athena (pp. 135–156). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Basow, S. A. (2000). Best and worst professors: Gender patterns in students’ choices. Sex Roles, 42, 407–417. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026655528055.
Basow, S. A., & Silberg, N. (1987). Student evaluations of college professors: Are female and male professors rated differently? Journal of Educational Psychology, 79, 308–314. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-06184.108.40.2068.
Bennett, S. K. (1982). Student perceptions of and expectations for male and female instructors: Evidence relating to the question of gender bias in teaching evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74, 170–179. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-06220.127.116.11.
Bernard, J. (1964). Academic women. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press.
Biernat, M., & Kobrynowicz, D. (1997). Gender- and race-based standards of competence: Lower minimum standards but higher ability standards for devalued groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 544–557. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1684.
Biernat, M., Ma, J. E., & Nario-Redmond, M. R. (2008). Standards to suspect and diagnose stereotypical traits. Social Cognition, 26, 288–313. https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2008.26.3.288.
Burns-Glover, A. L., & Veith, D. J. (1995). Revisiting gender and teaching evaluations: Sex still makes a difference. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 10, 69–80. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/openview/4ec36057b25415f8d833f02e48629075/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1819046.
Caplan, P. (1993). Lifting a ton of feathers: A woman’s guide to surviving in the academic world. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Carli, L. L. (1999). Gender, interpersonal power, and social influence. Journal of Social Issues, 55, 81–90. https://doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.00106.
Chowning, K., & Campbell, N. J. (2009). Development and validation of a measure of academic entitlement: Individual differences in students’ externalized responsibility and entitled expectations. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 982–997. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016351.
Ciani, K. D., Summers, J. J., & Easter, M. A. (2008). Gender differences in academic entitlement among college students. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 169, 332–344. https://doi.org/10.3200/GNTP.169.4.332-344.
Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Cuddy, A. J. C., Fiske, S. T., & Glick, P. (2004). When professionals become mothers, warmth doesn’t cut the ice. Journal of Social Issues, 60(4), 701–718.
Cuddy, A. J. C., Fiske, S. T., Kwan, V. S. Y., Glick, P., Demoulin, S., Leyens, J., ... Ziegler, R. (2009). Stereotype content model across cultures: Toward universal similarities and some differences. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48, 1–33. https://doi.org/10.1348/014466608X314935.
de Oliveira Laux, S. H., Ksenofontov, I., & Becker, J. C. (2015). Explicit but not implicit sexist beliefs predict benevolent and hostile sexist behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 702–715. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2128.
Eagly, A. H., & Karau, S. J. (2002). Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological Review, 109, 573–598. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.109.3.573.
Eagly, A. H., & Sczesny, S. (2009). Stereotypes about women, men, and leaders: Have times changed? In M. Barreto, M. K. Ryan, & M. T. Schmitt (Eds.), The glass ceiling in the 21 st century: Understanding barriers to gender equality (pp. 21–47). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Eckes, T. (2002). Paternalistic and envious gender stereotypes: Testing predictions from the stereotype content model. Sex Roles, 47, 99–114. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021020920715.
Elias, S. M., & Loomis, R. J. (2004). The effect of instructor gender and race/ethnicity on gaining compliance in the classroom. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34, 937–958. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2004.tb02578.x.
England, P., Herbert, M. S., Kilbourne, B. S., Reid, L. L., & Megdal, I. M. (1994). The gendered valuation of occupations and skills: Earnings in the 1980 census occupations. Social Forces, 73(1), 65–99.
Feldman, K. A. (1993). College students’ views of male and female college teachers: Part II – Evidence from students’ evaluations of their classroom teachers. Research in Higher Education, 34, 151–191. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00992161.
Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J. C., Glick, P., & Xu, J. (2002). A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 878–902. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3522.214.171.1248.
Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J. C., & Glick, P. (2007). Universal dimensions of social cognition: Warmth and competence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11, 77–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2006.11.005.
Foschi, M. (1996). Double standards in the evaluation of men and women. Social Psychology Quarterly, 59, 237–254. https://doi.org/10.2307/2787021.
Foschi, M. (2000). Double standards for competence: Theory and research. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 21–42. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.21.
French Jr., J., & Raven, B. (1959). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright (Ed.), Studies in social power (pp. 150–167). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.
Giacomin, M., & Jordan, C. H. (2014). Down-regulating narcissistic tendencies: Communal focus reduces state narcissism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(4), 488–500.
Guarino, C. M., & Borden, V. M. H. (2017). Faculty service loads and gender: Are women taking care of the academic family? Research in Higher Education, 58, 672–694. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-017-9454-2.
Hayes, A. F. (2012). PROCESS: A versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling [white paper]. Retrieved from http://www.afhayes.com/public/process2012.pdf
Heilman, M. E. (2001). Description and prescription: How gender stereotypes prevent women’s ascent up the organizational ladder. Journal of Social Issues, 57, 657–674. https://doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.00234.
Jiang, L., Tripp, T. M., & Hong, P. Y. (2017). College instruction is not so stress free after all: A qualitative and quantitative study of academic entitlement, uncivil behaviors, and instructor strain and burnout. Stress and Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1532-2998/earlyview.
Kierstead, D., D’Agostino, P., & Dill, H. (1988). Sex role stereotyping of college professors: Bias in students’ ratings of instructors. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 342–344. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-06126.96.36.1992.
Koenig, A. M., Eagly, A. H., Mitchell, A. A., & Ristikari, T. (2011). Are leader stereotypes masculine? A meta-analysis of three research paradigms. Psychological Bulletin, 137, 616–642. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023557.
Kopp, J. P., Zinn, T. E., Finney, S. J., & Jurich, D. P. (2011). The development and evaluation of the academic entitlement questionnaire. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 44, 105–129. https://doi.org/10.1177/0748175611400292.
Lippmann, S., Bulanda, R. E., & Wagenaar, T. C. (2009). Student entitlement: Issues and strategies for confronting entitlement in the classroom and beyond. College Teaching, 57, 197–204. https://doi.org/10.1080/87567550903218596.
Marsh, H. W., & Dunkin, M. J. (1992). Students’ evaluations of university teaching: A multidimensional perspective. In J. C. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 8, pp. 143–233). New York: Agathon Press.
Moshavi, D., Dana, S., Standifird, S., & Pons, F. (2008). Gender effects in the business school classroom: A social power perspective. Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management, 10, 3–17.
National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. (2015). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 2015. Special report NSF 15–311. Arlington, VA. Retrieved from http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/.
New York Times. (2006, Sept. 14). Quotes from Ann Richards. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/14/us/richards_quotes.html?mcubz=0. Accessed 29 Sept 2017.
Phelan, J. E. (2008). Competent yet out in the cold: Shifting criteria for hiring reflect backlash toward agentic women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32, 406–413. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.2008.00454.x.
Phelan, J. E., & Rudman, L. A. (2010). Prejudice toward female leaders: Backlash effects and women's impression management dilemma. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4(10), 807–820. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00306.x.
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 879–891. https://doi.org/10.3758/BRM.40.3.879.
Pugliesi, K. (1999). The consequences of emotional labor: Effects on work stress, job satisfaction, and well-being. Motivation and Emotion, 23, 125–154. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021329112679.
Ridgeway, C. L. (2001). Gender, status, and leadership. Journal of Social Issues, 57, 637–655. https://doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.00233.
Roach, K. D. (1991). Graduate teaching assistants’ use of behavior alteration techniques in the university classroom. Communication Quarterly, 39, 178–188. https://doi.org/10.1080/01463379109369795.
Rudman, L. A., & Glick, P. (2001). Prescriptive gender stereotypes and backlash toward agentic women. Journal of Social Issues, 57(4), 743–762. https://doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.00239.
Rudman, L. A., & Kilianski, S. E. (2000). Implicit and explicit attitudes toward female authority. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1315–1328. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167200263001.
Rudman, L. A., Moss-Racusin, C. A., Phelan, J. E., & Nauts, S. (2012). Status incongruity and backlash effects: Defending the gender hierarchy motivates prejudice against female leaders. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(1), 165–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2011.10.008.
Sandler, B. R., & Hall, R. M. (1993). Women faculty at work in the classroom, or, why it still hurts to be a woman in labor. Washington, DC: Center for Women Policy Studies.
Schein, V. E., Mueller, R., Lituchy, T., & Liu, J. (1996). Think manager – think male: A global phenomenon? Journal of Organizational Behavior, 17, 33–41. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1379(199601)17:1<33::AID-JOB778>3.0.CO;2-F.
Sibley, C. G., & Wilson, M. S. (2004). Differentiating hostile and benevolent sexist attitudes toward positive and negative sexual female subtypes. Sex Roles, 51(11–12), 687–696.
Sinclair, L., & Kunda, Z. (2000). Motivated stereotyping of women: She’s fine if she praised me but incompetent if she criticized me. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1329–1342. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167200263002.
Sprague, J., & Massoni, K. (2005). Student evaluations and gendered expectations: What we can’t count can hurt us. Sex Roles, 53, 779–793. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-005-8292-4.
Swim, J. K., Aikin, K. J., Hall, W. S., & Hunter, B. A. (1995). Sexism and racism: Old-fashioned and modern prejudices. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 199–214. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.52.
The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. (2011). About Carnegie Classification. Retrieved from http://carnegieclassifications.iu.edu/.
Wink, P. (1991). Two faces of narcissism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(4), 769–791.
Young, S., Rush, L., & Shaw, D. (2009). Evaluating gender bias in ratings of university instructors’ teaching effectiveness. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 3, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.20429/ijsotl.2009.030219.
Zawisza, M., & Cinnirella, M. (2010). What matters more: Breaking tradition or stereotype content? Envious and paternalistic gender stereotypes and advertising effectiveness. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40, 1767–1797. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00639.x.
The research presented within this manuscript was conducted in accordance with the ethical guidelines set by the American Psychological Association and the Institutional Review Boards of the relevant authors’ institutions. This manuscript is not currently under review at any other journal, nor has any portion of it been published previously.
Electronic Supplementary Material
About this article
Cite this article
El-Alayli, A., Hansen-Brown, A.A. & Ceynar, M. Dancing Backwards in High Heels: Female Professors Experience More Work Demands and Special Favor Requests, Particularly from Academically Entitled Students. Sex Roles 79, 136–150 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-017-0872-6
- Academic entitlement
- Sex discrimination
- Gender equity
- College teachers
- Teacher student interaction
- Emotional labor