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Not Minding the Gap: How Hostile Sexism Encourages Choice Explanations for the Gender Income Gap

Author(s): Connor, Rachel A.; Fiske, Susan T.

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Abstract: Researchers have shown that prejudice encourages explanations for inequality that attribute stigmatized groups’ negative outcomes to internal-controllable causes. We extended this research by investigating how ambivalent sexism affects attributions for gender income inequality. Hostile sexism should facilitate acceptance of gender income inequality through attributions that emphasize individual choice. We tested this hypothesis in two web-based samples of predominately White American men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 82 years (Mage = 33.8). In Study 1 (N = 648), hostile sexism, acceptance of gender income inequality. In Study 2 (N = 242), following exposure to hostile sexism, participants increased acceptance of gender income inequality; choice explanations mediated this relation, although these effects occurred for political conservatives only. Consistent with prior work on attributions, hostile sexism was linked to victim-blaming attributions for gender income inequality. Overall, hostile sexism creates an attitudinal barrier—especially for conservatives—to supporting equal pay for women. To overcome this barrier, organizations could implement strategies aimed at ensuring more objective performance evaluations and pay decisions. Further, policy makers and communicators should be careful in choosing how they frame the gender pay gap.
Publication Date: 26-Dec-2018
Electronic Publication Date: Dec-2018
Citation: Connor, RA, Fiske, ST. (2018). Not Minding the Gap: How Hostile Sexism Encourages Choice Explanations for the Gender Income Gap. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 10.1177/0361684318815468
DOI: doi:10.1177/0361684318815468
ISSN: 0361-6843
EISSN: 1471-6402
Pages: 1-15
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Psychology of Women Quarterly
Version: Author's manuscript

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