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Gender stereotypes have changed: A cross-temporal meta-analysis of U.S. public opinion polls from 1946 to 2018


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This meta-analysis integrated 16 nationally representative U.S. public opinion polls on gender stereotypes (N = 30,093 adults), extending from 1946 to 2018, a span of seven decades that brought considerable change in gender relations, especially in women's roles. In polls inquiring about communion (e.g., affectionate, emotional), agency (e.g., ambitious, courageous), and competence (e.g., intelligent, creative), respondents indicated whether each trait is more true of women or men, or equally true of both. Women's relative advantage in communion increased over time, but men's relative advantage in agency showed no change. Belief in competence equality increased over time, along with belief in female superiority among those who indicated a sex difference in competence. Contemporary gender stereotypes thus convey substantial female advantage in communion and a smaller male advantage in agency but also gender equality in competence along with some female advantage. Interpretation emphasizes the origins of gender stereotypes in the social roles of women and men. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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Gender Stereotypes Have Changed: A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of
U.S. Public Opinion Polls From 1946 to 2018
Alice H. Eagly
Northwestern University Christa Nater
University of Bern
David I. Miller
American Institutes for Research, Washington, D.C. Michèle Kaufmann and Sabine Sczesny
University of Bern
This meta-analysis integrated 16 nationally representative U.S. public opinion polls on gender
stereotypes (N30,093 adults), extending from 1946 to 2018, a span of seven decades that
brought considerable change in gender relations, especially in women’s roles. In polls
inquiring about communion (e.g., affectionate, emotional), agency (e.g., ambitious, coura-
geous), and competence (e.g., intelligent, creative), respondents indicated whether each trait
is more true of women or men, or equally true of both. Women’s relative advantage in
communion increased over time, but men’s relative advantage in agency showed no change.
Belief in competence equality increased over time, along with belief in female superiority
among those who indicated a sex difference in competence. Contemporary gender stereotypes
thus convey substantial female advantage in communion and a smaller male advantage in
agency but also gender equality in competence along with some female advantage. Interpre-
tation emphasizes the origins of gender stereotypes in the social roles of women and men.
Keywords: gender stereotypes, public opinion polls, communion, agency, competence
Supplemental materials:
Since the mid-20th century, dramatic change has taken
place in gender relations in the United States, as illustrated
by women’s labor force participation rising from 32% in
1950 to 57% in 2018 and men’s falling from 82% to 69%
(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017, 2018b). Women also
now earn more bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees
than do men, unlike decades ago (Okahana & Zhou, 2018).
Given such shifts, consensual beliefs about the attributes of
women and men—that is, gender stereotypes—should have
changed. Testing this proposition required assembling a
unique data set that consists of assessments of stereotypes in
nationally representative public opinion polls.
Gender stereotypes are ubiquitous because the social cat-
egory sex, which divides most humans into two groups
based on their reproductive functions, is fundamental to
human cognition and social organization. Even young chil-
dren recognize this grouping (Martin & Ruble, 2010). They
then begin to understand the meaning of these categories
through observation of the behaviors and events linked with
each sex. Throughout their lives, individuals receive exten-
sive information about women and men from direct obser-
vation as well as indirect observation through social sharing
and cultural representations. As a result, most people ac-
quire some version of their culture’s gender stereotypes.
The importance of stereotyping in theories of gender
(e.g., Bem, 1993; Deaux & Major, 1987; Eagly & Wood,
2012; Eccles, 1994; Ridgeway, 2011; Spence, 1993) has
inspired much research. However, with few exceptions, this
research has consisted of small-scale studies of college
undergraduates (e.g., Lueptow, Garovich-Szabo, & Luep-
tow, 2001) or other nonrepresentative samples (e.g., Haines,
Deaux, & Lofaro, 2016; Prentice & Carranza, 2002). These
sampling limitations have compromised external validity,
XAlice H. Eagly, Department of Psychology, Northwestern Uni-
versity; XChrista Nater, Department of Psychology, University of Bern;
XDavid I. Miller, American Institutes for Research, Washington, D.C.;
Michèle Kaufmann and XSabine Sczesny, Department of Psychology,
University of Bern.
The research was supported in part by a grant (P0BEP1_162210) from
the Swiss National Science Foundation awarded to Christa Nater.
Michèle Kaufmann is now at Growth from Knowledge (GfK), Nurem-
berg, Germany.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Alice H.
Eagly, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, 2029 Sheri-
dan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. E-mail:
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American Psychologist
© 2019 American Psychological Association 2019, Vol. 1, No. 999, 000
especially given the overrepresentation of college students
from introductory psychology classes (Henry, 2008).
This project instead relied on public opinion polls that
surveyed large, nationally representative samples. Specifi-
cally, between 1946 and 2018, several respected polling
organizations surveyed U.S. adults’ beliefs about the attri-
butes of women and men. These data offer a valuable
opportunity to study gender stereotypes across a span of
decades that brought fundamental changes in relationships
between women and men.
Gender Stereotypes: Their Content and Origins
Most research on the content of these stereotypes has
found two themes, which, following Bakan (1966), are
typically labeled communion and agency (e.g., Diekman &
Eagly, 2000; Rucker, Galinsky, & Magee, 2018; Sczesny,
Nater, & Eagly, 2019; Williams & Best, 1990). Communion
orients people to others and their well-being (e.g., compas-
sionate, warm, expressive), whereas agency orients people
to the self and one’s own mastery and goal attainment (e.g.,
ambitious, assertive, competitive). Communion prevails in
the female stereotype, and agency in the male stereotype.
Notably, some researchers have emphasized competence
(e.g., intelligent) rather than agency as fundamental to ste-
reotyping, and these two qualities tend to be correlated
(Cuddy, Fiske, & Glick, 2008). Nonetheless, agency and
competence should show different trends, given that agency
is a much stronger theme than competence in the male
stereotype (Sczesny et al., 2019).
Like other stereotypes, gender stereotypes reflect essen-
tialism, or the tendency to infer essences, often taking the
form of traits underlying individuals’ behaviors (Prentice &
Miller, 2006). Although some people ascribe such trait
essences to biology, others instead ascribe them to social-
ization and social position in society (Rangel & Keller,
2011). For example, in U.S. public opinion poll data (Pew
Research Center, 2017), among the 87% of respondents
who indicated that men and women are different rather than
similar on “how they express their feelings,” 58% ascribed
these differences mainly to “society,” and 42% to “biol-
Origins of Gender Stereotype Content in
Social Roles
According to social role theory (Eagly & Wood, 2012;
Koenig & Eagly, 2014), gender stereotypes stem from peo-
ple’s direct and indirect observations of women and men in
their social roles. Role-constrained behavior provides cru-
cial information because most behavior enacts roles. More-
over, people spontaneously infer individuals’ social roles
(e.g., student) from their behaviors (e.g., studied in the
library), with downstream consequences of ascribing role-
consistent traits to them (e.g., hardworking; Chen, Banerji,
Moons, & Sherman, 2014). When people observe members
of a group (e.g., gender, race) occupying certain roles more
often than members of other groups do, the behaviors usu-
ally enacted within these roles influence the traits believed
to be typical of the group. To the extent that people in the
same society have similar observations, these beliefs be-
come shared cultural expectations.
Relevant to possible shifts in gender stereotypes, the
social roles of women and men have changed since the
mid-20th century (for causes, see Blau & Winkler, 2018).
Female and male labor force participation has converged
considerably in the United States, as in many other nations
(Ortiz-Ospina & Tzvetkova, 2017). Nevertheless, a com-
mon arrangement is a neotraditional division of labor (Ger-
son, 2017), whereby women perform the majority of the
domestic work and men have more continuous employment
with longer hours and higher wages (e.g., Bianchi, Lesnard,
Nazio, & Raley, 2014; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
As women entered the labor force in large numbers,
occupational sex segregation declined (Blau, Brummund, &
Liu, 2013). In particular, women entered many male-
dominated occupations that require higher education and
offer relatively high prestige (Lippa, Preston, & Penner,
2014). Nevertheless, at least half of U.S. female and male
employees would have to exchange jobs to produce a fully
integrated labor force (Hegewisch & Hartmann, 2014). This
segregation is patterned vertically and horizontally (e.g.,
Lippa et al., 2014). Vertical segregation places more men
than women in positions with higher pay and authority,
whereas horizontal segregation concentrates women and
Alice H. Eagly
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men in occupations requiring different skills and facilitating
different personal goals.
Demonstrating horizontal segregation, women and men
are concentrated in occupations with different attributes.
According to two U.S. studies based on the extensive oc-
cupational data available from the Occupational Informa-
tion Network (O
NET:, women’s rep-
resentation was predicted by occupations’ requirements for
social skills and opportunities for social contribution (i.e.,
helping others) and workplace flexibility, whereas men’s
representation was predicted by occupations’ requirements
for physical strength; competition; interaction with things;
and analytical, mathematical, and technical skills (Cortes &
Pan, 2018; Levanon & Grusky, 2016; see also Baker &
Cornelson, 2018, for analysis of occupations’ demands for
sensory, motor, and spatial aptitudes).
Occupational sex segregation based on these predictors is
intact, despite the desegregation that has followed mainly
from educated women entering male-dominated profes-
sional and managerial occupations. Yet, many of these
occupations have resegregated internally by developing
female-dominated subfields (Levanon & Grusky, 2016).
Replicating the familiar macrolevel themes, such female
specializations include pediatrics and gynecology in medi-
cine and human resources and public relations in manage-
Implications of Role Changes for Stereotype Content
Women’s increased labor force participation should have
boosted their perceived competence because employment
ordinarily requires complex task coordination and adher-
ence to bureaucratic constraints such as performance eval-
uations. Moreover, women’s educational gains have fos-
tered their entry into occupations with cognitive demands
and prestige similar to men’s occupations (Cortes & Pan,
2018; Lippa et al., 2014).
Despite these substantial changes in employment and
education and the egalitarian attitudinal shifts that have
accompanied them (e.g., Donnelly et al., 2016), gender
stereotypes would continue to follow from persisting occu-
pational segregation as well as the uneven division of wage
labor and domestic work between men and women (Gerson,
2017). Specifically, vertical segregation would further the
stereotype of men’s agency because of the agency ascribed
to leadership and authority roles (Koenig, Eagly, Mitchell,
& Ristikari, 2011). Following from horizontal segregation,
(a) men’s agency would also be conveyed by their presence
as families’ main provider and in occupations requiring
competitiveness, physical prowess, and robustness, and (b)
women’s communion would be conveyed by their presence
as families’ main homemaker and in occupations requiring
social skills and yielding social contribution (Cortes & Pan,
2018; Levanon & Grusky, 2016).
In summary, for communion, there is little reason to
expect that women’s advantage over men has lessened,
given their continuing concentration in communal roles. In
fact, Lueptow et al. (2001) reported a strengthening of the
female communal stereotype between 1974 and 1997, based
on his surveys of U.S. sociology students at the University
of Akron. For agency, it might seem that men’s advantage
would decrease, given increases of women in leadership
roles and in occupations such as lawyer and manager (Carli
& Eagly, 2017). However, any such influence on agency
would be attenuated by the fine-grained internal resegrega-
tion of such occupations. For competence, women should
gain relative to men because of their increased education
and employment, especially in higher prestige jobs. There-
fore, public opinion data on gender stereotypes should re-
veal continuing advantage for women in communion and
men in agency but gains for women relative to men in
Search for Polls and Inclusion Criteria
Searches. Between 2010 and 2018, we searched for
public opinion polls in multiple databases, including Roper
Center for Public Opinion Research (inclusive of iPOLL),
Polling the Nations,, Gallup Analytics
and World Poll, Pew Research Center, National Opinion
Research Center, General Social Survey, American Na-
tional Election Studies, Interuniversity Consortium for Po-
litical and Social Research, World Values Survey, Google,
and Google Scholar. Keywords included (a) stereotype
Christa Nater
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paired with gender, sex, male, female, men, or women; (b)
gender or sex paired with attitudes, beliefs,oropinions; (c)
women or men; and (d) gender, sex, men,orwomen paired
with traits such as intelligent, aggressive, and romantic,
which were frequent in the polls initially identified.
Inclusion criteria. The included polls were nationally
representative for the United States, which is the normative
practice for polling organizations (see Gallup Organization,
2019). Searching in archives found 24 national U.S. polls
that included one or more items assessing descriptive gen-
der stereotypes, at least one of which pertained to commu-
nion, agency, or competence. The 15 included polls asked
about the distribution of each trait between the sexes (e.g.,
“In general, do you think each of the following character-
istics is more true of women or men, or equally true of
both?”). The nine excluded polls asked about only one sex
(k5), asked about women and men in separate items (k
1), or used a different answer format (k3). To supplement
the 15 included polls with current data, we contracted the
polling organization GfK to collect a nationally representa-
tive U.S. sample using their Government & Academic Om-
nibus panel in April 2018. In total, the final set of 16 polls
included 30,093 adults sampled from 1946 to 2018 (see
Table 1).
Polling organizations disseminate their survey results at
their websites and in written reports and press releases.
Most of these polls are subsequently archived, predomi-
nantly at the Roper Center. Although private polls about
consumer and political issues may not be made public, these
are unlikely to have surveyed gender stereotypes. Given the
practice of archiving surveys regardless of their results,
publication bias is not relevant to this meta-analysis.
Classification of stereotypical traits. Guided by earlier
analyses (e.g., Diekman & Eagly, 2000; Koenig & Eagly,
2014, Study 4), three of the authors independently classified
the polls’ traits into the categories communal, agentic, and
competent. The overall interrater reliability (Fleiss kappa) was
␬⫽.81, with ␬⫽.93 for communion, ␬⫽.77 for agency, and
␬⫽.92 for competence. Based on at least two raters’ classi-
fying an item into the same category, the result was (a) 13
communal items: ability to handle people well, affectionate,
compassionate, emotional, generous, honest, nurturing, outgo-
ing, patient, polite and well-mannered, romantic, sensitive, and
unselfish; (b) 17 agentic items: ability to make decisions,
aggressive, ambitious, arrogant, calm in emergencies, confi-
dent, courageous, critical, decisive, demanding, hardworking,
independent, possessive, proud, selfish, strong, and stubborn;
and (c) 10 competent items: ability to create or invent new
things, creative, innovative, intelligent, level-headed, logical,
organized, smart, thorough in handling details, and willing to
accept new ideas. Because intelligent was the item most re-
peated across the polls, its data also appear in a separate
analysis, along with the similar item smart from Gallup (1989).
Items that did not fit the categories (e.g., cautious, happy) were
Meta-Analytic Procedures
Effect size calculations. The main outcome variable
was the percentage of respondents who ascribed a trait more
to women than men (excluding equal responses). For each
trait, for example, if 300 of 1,000 respondents indicated that
ambitious is truer of women and 500 that it is truer of men,
that percentage was 37.5% (i.e., 300 of the 800 who chose
men or women, among the 1,000 respondents). An addi-
tional effect size was the percentage of respondents indicat-
ing that women and men are equal on a trait, as opposed to
more true of one sex. In this example, in which 200 of the
1,000 respondents answered equally true, that percentage
was 20% (i.e., 200 among the 1,000). Aggregated across
traits within each dimension, these percentages were con-
verted to log odds for statistical analysis and converted back
to the more intuitive percentage metric for descriptive sta-
tistics (see Borenstein, Hedges, Higgins, & Rothstein, 2009,
p. 312). Most polls (12 of 16) provided survey weights to
adjust for unequal sampling probabilities and nonresponse
bias. To ensure national representativeness, effect size cal-
culations incorporated these weights, using the survey pack-
age in R (Lumley, 2017). In the polls lacking such weights,
all respondents were weighted equally. Design-based stan-
dard errors adjusted for correlated responses and survey
weights (McNeish, Stapleton, & Silverman, 2017).
Analyses conducted separately for each stereotype dimen-
sion averaged effect sizes within polls for each of the three
stereotype domains (e.g., for competence, averaging cre-
ativity and intelligence). Alternative analyses accounted for
David I. Miller
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such dependent effect sizes by using robust variance esti-
mation where it was appropriate (Tanner-Smith, Tipton, &
Polanin, 2016; Appendix S2 in the online supplemental
materials details the preregistered analytic strategy for han-
dling effect size dependencies).
Statistical models. Focal analyses modeled the log
odds of ascribing traits to women versus men for each
stereotype dimension, while ignoring equal responses. Ad-
ditional analyses modeled another effect size, the log odds
of equal responding. Also, multinomial logistic regression
analyses examined how all response categories changed
relative to each other (Begg & Gray, 1984; see Appendix S3
in the online supplemental materials; Figure S2 and Appen-
dix S3 also describe an analysis that assigned numeric
values to the response options). Mixed-effects meta-
regression models assumed that the observed effect size
variation was due to fixed effects of moderators (e.g., sur-
vey year), random effects of residual between-poll hetero-
geneity, and within-poll sampling error (Borenstein et al.,
2009). Between-poll heterogeneity was quantified by 90%
prediction intervals (a measure of the estimated dispersion of
true underlying effects) and I
statistics (percentage of total
variability in effect sizes due to true between-poll heterogene-
ity rather than chance). The metafor R package calculated
these models using restricted maximum likelihood estimation
and the Knapp–Hartung adjustment to account for uncertainty
in estimating between-poll heterogeneity (Viechtbauer, 2010).
The online supplemental materials and Open Science Frame-
work site ( contain the data files and R
code needed to reproduce all analyses including figures and
Tests of robustness. Four robustness checks examined
the trends over time while either controlling for covariates
or removing the polls from the 1940s and 1950. The first
robustness check controlled for the polling method, which
was a particularly stringent test given that polling switched
over the years from face-to-face to phone polling and then
to online panels (see Table 1). The second robustness check
controlled for the presence of the equal option of same/
equally true of both in the poll. Although an explicit equal
option was missing from 10 of the face-to-face and phone
surveys, respondents were free to volunteer this answer,
which interviewers recorded. The third robustness check
controlled for the log odds of respondents indicating same/
equally true of both, either by choosing this provided alter-
native or spontaneously giving this answer when it was not
provided. This control for equal responses, which are pre-
sumably more politically correct than is choosing one sex,
should account for confounds due to potential changes in
social desirability over time (e.g., Krupnikov, Piston, &
Bauer, 2016). The fourth robustness check excluded the two
1946 polls and the 1950 poll, which might have dispropor-
tionately influenced regression models because all other
polls were from 1974 or later. Furthermore, results of these
earliest polls might reflect the sharp rise in women’s labor
force participation during World War II and its subsequent
partial fall (Goldin & Olivetti, 2013). Therefore, an analysis
omitted these polls to examine whether historical trends
were due to these possibly anomalous early data points.
Evaluative content of stereotypical traits. Another
potential confound follows from traits’ evaluative content,
which differed across the items (e.g., courageous is more
positive than arrogant) and might have changed over time.
Such a confound could have contributed to the historical
trends if increasing pressures for political correctness en-
couraged ascribing more desirable traits to women. For each
dimension, these analyses tested whether the items’ posi-
tivity predicted ascribing traits more to women than men.
Assessment of the items’ evaluative content relied on
prior research on the likability of person-descriptive words.
Beginning with Anderson (1968), researchers repeatedly
obtained likability ratings of many such words. The latest
study (Chandler, 2018) did the following: (a) extended this
effort to ratings (on 7-point scales) of 1,048 words by
college students and Mechanical Turk workers and (b)
determined whether traits’ likability had changed over time
(the only change was on aggressive, which became more
negative). Our procedure matched each poll attribute to its
likability value in Chandler’s study or, for aggressive, its
average value across the surveys. For 26 attributes, an exact
word match was possible; for 12 attributes, the match was to
a close synonym; and for one attribute (calm in emergen-
cies), no match was possible. See Table S1 in the online
supplemental materials for items and means.
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Subgroup Analyses
The raw data were available for 15 of the 16 polls (Fox
News, 2006, was missing), allowing for analyses of the
demographic variables of respondent sex (k15 polls), age
(k15), college education (k12), race–ethnicity (k
14), marital status (k13), and employment status (k
13); Table S2 in the online supplemental materials lists the
polls included in these analyses. We preregistered several
hypotheses for these analyses on the Open Science Frame-
work website ( For instance, one such
prediction was that female respondents would ascribe
greater competence to women more often than would male
respondents, due to ingroup preference. Analyses also ex-
plored whether historical trends varied in magnitude across
demographic subgroups.
The analyses addressed two main questions: (a) How
have gender stereotypes changed across a span of decades
(1940s to 2010s) that brought considerable change in wom-
en’s roles? and (b) Did respondent demographic variables
moderate the changes over time?
Analyses for Responding That Traits Are More
True of One Sex
Meta-analytic means. Table 2 presents the mean per-
centages of respondents ascribing stereotypical qualities to
women rather than men, along with associated distributional
statistics. A percentage of 50% means that the numbers of
“more true of women” and “more true of men” responses
were equal. These percentages varied considerably across
the dimensions, in the female direction for communion
(85%), competence (64%), and the item intelligent (66%)
and in the male direction for agency (32%). Hence, the
female communion stereotype showed the largest consensus
among respondents. Nearly all variability in observed effect
sizes could be attributed to between-poll heterogeneity
rather than chance (I
97.85 for all stereotype domains),
suggesting that moderators should help explain differences
across polls.
Simple regression analyses over time. These models
used the poll year to predict the log odds of respondents
indicating that women, rather than men, have more of the
relevant attribute (see Figure 1). Communion showed a
significant increase over time (b.037, SE .008, p
.001). For instance, among respondents stating a sex differ-
ence, 54% indicated that women are more communal in
Roper’s (1946) poll, but 83% did so in the 1989 poll and
97% in the 2018 poll. In contrast, agency showed no sig-
nificant trend (b⫽⫺.008, SE .005, p.140). Compe-
tence (b.025, SE .005, p.001) and its intelligence
component (b.024, SE .006, p.009) also showed a
significant increase. The direction of the competence ste-
reotype reversed over time; for instance, 34% of respon-
dents indicated that women are more intelligent than men in
Gallup’s (1946) poll, but 65% did so in the 2018 poll.
Tests of robustness. Multivariable meta-regression
models tested whether the predicted effects of historical
time remained after controlling separately for each of the
following three covariates: (a) polling method (two
dummy codes comparing online panels and face-to-face
vs. phone polling), (b) equal alternative (dummy code
comparing the presence vs. absence of the equal response
alternative), and (c) log odds of respondents responding
equal versus different. The fourth robustness check tested
whether the trends over time remained after removing the
three polls from the 1940s and 1950s. Figure 2 displays
the regression coefficients for poll year using each of
these four robustness checks.
These analyses showed that the historical trends were
sensitive to the robustness check of polling method for
communion (p.147) and the item intelligent (p.229),
perhaps due to the statistical difficulties in partitioning
variance due to polling method versus polling year (consis-
tent with the wide 95% confidence intervals [CIs] for the
blue bars [the second bar in each group] in Figure 2).
Nevertheless, the trend over time remained significant for
competence (p.001). No conclusions changed when
controlling for whether an equal alternative option was
provided (green bars [the third bar in each group]) or for the
proportion of equal answers (purple bars [the fourth bar in
Sabine Sczesny
Photo by © Luca
Christen, 2019
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each group]). The only conclusion that changed when re-
moving the 1940s and 1950s polls was the historical trend
for the single item intelligent (p.629; orange bars [the
fifth bar in each group] in Figure 2). This item was present
in 1946 and subsequently only from 1989 to 2018, a period
in which women were stably favored over men (see also
Figure 1). In summary, trends for competence were robust
to all four checks, whereas trends for communion and
intelligence showed some sensitivity. Trends for agency
remained nonsignificant.
Evaluative content of stereotypical traits. To exam-
ine whether the items’ evaluative content was a confound
(consistent with a political correctness interpretation of ste-
reotype change over time), secondary analyses tested
whether the traits’ likability ratings or their interaction
with poll year predicted the effect sizes (see the Method
section). Items’ likability did not significantly predict
effect sizes for agency (p.624) or competence (p
.169) but did for communion (b⫽⫺.428, SE .051, p
.001); unexpectedly, respondents overall ascribed com-
munal traits more often to women than to men for less
positive items. It is important to note, however, that the
historical trends for communion and competence re-
mained significant when items’ likability was included as
a covariate (communion, p.016; competence, p
.017), and the trend for agency remained nonsignificant
Table 1
Descriptive Information for U.S. Polls of Communion, Agency, and Competence Stereotypes
year Sample size Method Equal
Dimension and items
Communion Agency Competence
Roper (1946) 1946 5,027 Face-to-face Present Ability to handle people well,
polite and well-mannered,
Ability to make decisions Ability to create or
invent new
things, willing to
accept new
thoroughness in
handling details
Gallup (1946) 1946 3,226 Face-to-face Absent Common sense,
Gallup (1950) 1950 1,351 Phone Absent Courageous Level-headed
Virginia Slims
(1974) 1974 3,880 Face-to-face Present Romantic
Roper (1977) 1977 2,006 Face-to-face Absent Romantic
New York
(1983) 1983 1,309 Phone Absent Honest Logical
Roper (1985) 1985 1,997 Face-to-face Present Calm in emergencies
U.S. News
(1987) 1987 1,005 Phone Present Romantic
Gallup (1989) 1989 1,234 Phone Absent Affectionate, emotional,
honest, patient, romantic,
Aggressive, ambitious,
confident, courageous,
critical, demanding,
possessive, proud,
selfish, strong
Creative, level-
headed, logical,
organized, smart
Gallup (1995) 1995 1,020 Phone Absent Affectionate, emotional,
patient Aggressive, ambitious,
courageous Creative, intelligent
Gallup (2000) 2000 1,026 Phone Absent Affectionate, emotional,
patient Aggressive, ambitious,
courageous Creative, intelligent
Fox News
(2006) 2006 900 Phone Absent — Intelligent
Pew (2008) 2008 2,250 Phone Absent Compassionate, emotional,
outgoing Ambitious, arrogant,
decisive, hardworking,
Creative, intelligent
Pew (2015) 2014 1,835 Online panel Present Compassionate, honest Ambitious, decisive Intelligent,
CBS News
(2015) 2015 1,018 Phone Absent Romantic
Eagly et al.
(2018) 2018 1,009 Online panel Present Affectionate, compassionate,
sensitive, emotional Ambitious, aggressive,
courageous, decisive Creative,
Same/equally true response alternative was present or absent in the question format.
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(p.317). In addition, items’ likability did not interact with
poll year to predict effect sizes for any stereotype dimension
(all ps.082), meaning that historical trends did not signifi-
cantly differ for more versus less positive items.
Analyses for Responding That Traits Are the
Same or Equally True of Women and Men
The analyses presented so far predicted responding
more true of women versus more true of men, excluding
responses that the sexes are equal or the same. However,
the proportion of this equal responding could also have
changed over time. Therefore, all prior analyses were
repeated using a secondary effect size metric: the odds of
responding equal versus different.
Meta-analytic means. Communion produced the smallest
percentage of respondents responding equal (24%), agency
(33%) and competence (39%) were moderate, and intelligence
produced the largest percentage (59%). Hence, most partici-
pants differentiated women and men (i.e., expressed gender
stereotypes), although not on intelligence. Nearly all variability
in observed effect sizes could be attributed to between-poll
heterogeneity rather than chance (all I
99.59%; see Table
S3 in the online supplemental materials for details).
Simple regression analyses over time. These models
revealed that only competence (b.021, SE .007, p
.016) increased significantly over the years in respondents
indicating that women and men are equal (vs. different). For
instance, 25% indicated competence equality in the Roper
Percentage Choosing Women
0 255075100
b = 0.037
p < .001
b = −0.008
p = .140
Poll Year
Percentage Choosing Women
1940 1960 1980 2000 2020
0 255075100
b = 0.025
p < .001
Poll Year
1940 1960 1980 2000 2020
b = 0.024
p = .009
Figure 1. Change over historical time in the mean percentage and 95% confidence intervals of respondents
choosing women as more communal (Panel a), agentic (Panel b), competent (Panel c), and intelligent (Panel d)
than are men in U.S. polls. The regression coefficients (bs) and pvalues are from the simple meta-regression
models. The blue (thick dark lines) represent average model predictions converted from log odds to percentages.
The shaded blue (gray) regions indicate 90% prediction intervals based on average model predictions and
residual between-poll heterogeneity; on average, 90% of true poll averages will fall within these regions. A value
of 50% indicates that the number of respondents selecting the women more option equaled the number selecting
the men more option. See the online article for the color version of this figure.
Table 2
Mean Effect Sizes for Percentage of Respondents Choosing Women
in U.S. Polls of Communion, Agency, and Competence Stereotypes
measure kMean
90% prediction
interval t
Communion 12 85% [56, 96] 6.62
.84 99.52
Agency 9 32% [20, 47] 5.76
.15 98.53
Competence 11 64% [33, 87] 2.40
.63 99.58
Intelligence 8 66% [41, 85] 2.96
.41 97.85
Note.knumber of polls; mean random-effects weighted mean of the
percentage of respondents choosing women as possessing more of the
attribute; prediction interval the middle 90% of the true underlying
effects; ttest statistic for the mean being different from 50%;
tau-squared, the estimated between-poll variance of effect sizes on a log
odds scale; I
percentage of total variability in effect sizes due to true
between-poll heterogeneity rather than chance. Heterogeneity (Q, not dis-
played) was significant for all stereotype measures (all ps.001).
A mean of 50% signifies that the percentage of respondents indicating that
women have more of the attribute was equal to the percentage indicating that
men have more. Higher numbers indicate more ascription of the attribute to
women, and lower numbers indicate more ascription to men.
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(1946) poll, whereas 70% provided this answer in the 2018
poll. See Figure S1 in the online supplemental materials for
robustness checks.
Multinomial Analyses
Figure 3 displays analyses that simultaneously took into
account three responses: women more, men more, and
equal. Of most interest is the analysis on competence, which
showed a significant increase over time in the percentage
answering equal. The responses indicating that either sex is
more competent than the other declined, but choosing men
declined more sharply than did choosing women. Thus,
women’s competence advantage over men increased, even
though paradoxically both types of sex-differentiated re-
sponses declined in absolute terms. The likelihood of re-
sponding same versus different did not change significantly
for agency or communion. For details, see Appendix S3 and
Figure S1 in the online supplemental materials.
Subgroup Analyses for Respondent Demographic
Subgroup analyses of the focal effect sizes comparing
women versus men (excluding equal responses) examined
variation in stereotypes across respondent sex, college ed-
ucation, employment status, marital status, raceethnicity,
and birth cohort. These analyses served as both further
robustness checks of the main findings and tests of specific
preregistered hypotheses.
Historical trends and current stereotypes. Historical
trends were similar across demographic subgroups. In total,
28 tests determined whether respondent demographics mod-
erated historical trends in gender stereotyping. Although
four of these 28 exploratory tests were significant, even in
these cases, the significant trends persisted for each sub-
group. In other words, across demographic subgroups, the
increase in ascribing communion and competence to women
versus men was robust.
In addition, the subgroups generally agreed on the direc-
tion of the stereotypes in recent years. Figure 4 shows the
predictions of simple regression models for the stereotypes
in the year 2018 (see also Figure S3 in the online supple-
mental materials for the stereotype means averaged across
poll years). In general, gender stereotypes for communion,
agency, and competence were widely shared, given that
none of the confidence intervals crossed 50% for any sub-
group. The percentages for intelligence ratings were less
precise (note the wider CIs) and sometimes did not differ
significantly from 50%, although point estimates always
exceeded 50%. Notable are the consistently extreme per-
centages of respondents in all subgroups indicating that
women are the more communal sex.
Confirmatory tests of preregistered hypotheses. Consis-
tent with preregistered hypotheses, results showed an in-
group preference for competence and intelligence. Specifi-
cally, the odds of respondents ascribing competence and
intelligence to women versus men were higher among fe-
male than male respondents, when analyzing both overall
means (competence, mean OR 2.50, p.001; intelli-
Communion Agency Competence Intelligence
Stereotype Domain
Increase in Log Odds Per Year
(Regression Coefficient)
Controlling polling method
Controlling equal alternative
Controlling answering same
Removing 1940s/50s data
Figure 2. Regression coefficients and 95% confidence intervals for the change over historical time for each
stereotype dimension and the item intelligent. Positive values indicate that a dimension was ascribed to women
(vs. men) more often over time. The bars (from left to right) indicate regression coefficients without controls,
with controls for each of three potential confounds, and with the removal of data from the 1940s and 1950s. See
the online article for the color version of this figure.
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gence, mean OR 2.37, p.007) and the predictions for
the year 2018 shown in Figure 4 (competence, mean OR
2.46, p.002; intelligence, mean OR 2.56, p.039).
Nevertheless, in 2018, even male respondents ascribed com-
petence more often to women than men, despite ingroup
preferences. Predictions that were not confirmed are that the
odds of ascribing competence and intelligence to women
(vs. men) would be higher among college-educated than less
educated respondents (ps.25) or higher among younger
than older respondents within the same poll (ps.21).
Instead, respondents now ascribe competence in general and
intelligence more often to women than men, regardless of
college education and birth cohort.
Exploratory analyses of other demographic differen-
ces. These analyses found that the overall odds of ascrib-
ing traits to women versus men were higher for female than
male respondents for agency (mean OR 1.67, p.001)
and communion (mean OR 1.49, p.002); the same
differences were also found for the predicted means for year
2018 (p.049 and p.008, respectively). Hence, respon-
dent sex differences (i.e., higher odds of women assigning
traits to women vs. men) were similar for all stereotype
domains although largest for competence in general and
intelligence. Results also suggested racial differences. For
instance, the odds of ascribing agency and intelligence to
women versus men were higher among Black than White
respondents (agency, mean OR 1.72, p.005; intelli-
gence, mean OR 1.85, p.001); the same differences
were also found for the predicted means for year 2018 (p
.026 and p.004, respectively).
Challenging traditional claims that stereotypes of women
and men are fixed or rigid, our study joins others in finding
stereotypes to be flexibly responsive to changes in group
members’ social roles (e.g., Koenig & Eagly, 2014). As the
roles of women and men have changed since the mid-20th
century, so have consensual beliefs about their attributes.
These conclusions derive from national public opinion
polls conducted in the United States with over 30,000 adult
respondents. Although such polls are limited in number,
they are sufficient to demonstrate clear increases in the
ascription of communion to women relative to men but a
lack of change in agency. Although women also gained in
competence relative to men, belief in competence equality
has increased over time as well.
As demonstrated by Diekman and Eagly’s (2000) re-
search on dynamic stereotypes, people generally think that
gender stereotypes on agency have converged and will
continue to do so because of the growing similarity in the
employment and domestic commitments of women and
men. Contrary to this propositional reasoning, our meta-
analysis showed that these socioeconomic changes are as-
Percentage of Respondents
0 255075100
Poll Year
Percentage of Respondents
1940 1960 1980 2000 2020
0 255075100
Poll Year
1940 1960 1980 2000 2020
Figure 3. Stereotypes displaying change over historical time in the mean percentage of respondents indicating
more true of women, more true of men, or equal/same on communal (Panel a), agentic (Panel b), competent
(Panel c), and intelligent (Panel d). The percentage of missing responses is not shown but was always less than
10%. See the online article for the color version of this figure.
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sociated with stereotypic increases in women’s communion
and competence but not in their agency. The flaw in peo-
ple’s reasoning likely flows from their lack of conscious
awareness of the extent of sex segregation of the labor force,
as demonstrated by Beyer’s (2018) findings of systematic
underestimation of occupational segregation. Thus, wom-
en’s increasing employment has crowded them mainly into
jobs emphasizing social skills and social contribution (Cor-
tes & Pan, 2018), often in the expanding service, education,
and health care sectors of the economy. Because people
have increasingly observed women in such jobs, the asso-
ciative processes of stereotype formation following from
observations of women’s paid work have more strongly
linked them with communion, supplementing observations
of women’s enduring, albeit diminished, domestic special-
ization (see Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006, for discus-
sion of propositional and associative processing).
Two other psychological processes may also have fos-
tered women’s communal stereotype. One is that, whereas
women’s earlier domestic role may have seemed obligatory,
people likely believe that women now have substantial
choice about the occupations they pursue, thus increasing
the strength of their inference to corresponding traits (Jones
& Davis, 1965). Yet another process contributing to the
escalation of women’s communion may follow from its
being the strongest gender stereotype. Its salience may have
fostered its accentuation as it became the most conspicuous
quality differentiating women and men (see Eyal & Epley,
Even though women are overrepresented in communal
roles, occupational sex segregation did decrease, mainly in
the late 20th century (Hegewisch & Hartmann, 2014). This
shift drew women into many male-dominated occupations;
however, many of these are not particularly agentically
demanding (e.g., veterinarian, dentist; Roos & Stevens,
2018). Moreover, even within the more agentic roles that
women entered, such as lawyer and manager, internal re-
segregation tended to put women into the more communal
variants of these roles (Levanon & Grusky, 2016). In some
instances, new female ghettos emerged through the redesign
of jobs to have lower authority and reward social skills (e.g.,
bank branch manager; Skuratowicz & Hunter, 2004). For all
of these reasons, women’s increasing employment has
likely driven the stereotype of women toward gains in
communion but not agency even while yielding gains in
Our findings reveal gender stereotypes’ remarkable con-
sensuality across respondent sex, education, employment,
marital status, raceethnicity, and generation. Sex of re-
spondent did reveal some ingroup favoritism, with women,
relative to men, rating women more favorably (cf. Rudman
& Goodwin, 2004). Nevertheless, women and men gener-
Gen X
Baby Boomers
Silent Gen
Not Married
Not Working
Not College Grad
College Grad
0 25 50 75 100
Gen X
Baby Boomers
Silent Gen
Not Married
Not Working
Not College Grad
College Grad
Gen X
Baby Boomers
Silent Gen
Not Married
Not Working
Not College Grad
College Grad
0 25 50 75 100
Percent Choosing Women
Gen X
Baby Boomers
Silent Gen
Not Married
Not Working
Not College Grad
College Grad
Percent Choosing Women
Figure 4. Subgroup analysis for demographic variables. Values displayed are predictions of the simple
regression models (see Figure 1) for the year 2018 for each demographic subgroup. Values indicate the
percentages of women more responses among the women more and men more responses. The dots indicate that
participants ascribed traits more to women (red [top left, bottom left, and most of bottom right panels]) or men
(blue [top right panel]) or that their responses did not significantly favor either sex (gray [1st, 11th, 13th, and
14th dots in bottom right panel]). Error bars denote 95% confidence intervals. Coll. college. See the online
article for the color version of this figure.
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ally agreed with the overall patterns on communion, agency,
and competence, as did the subgroups based on other de-
mographics. For instance, in recent polls, among those
noting a sex difference in competence, even male respon-
dents shared the belief that women are the more competent
The competence findings challenge the assumption that
women, as a lower status social group, are accorded less
competence than are men (e.g., Ridgeway, 2014). This
assumption neglects women’s educational attainments and
entry into high-prestige occupations (e.g., physician, educa-
tion administrator), which diminished men’s once-strong
advantage in occupational prestige (Lippa et al., 2014; see
also Kleinjans, Krassel, & Dukes, 2017). Occupational pres-
tige may have a greater influence on competence beliefs
than do other status indicators (income and hierarchical
power), on which women remain more disadvantaged.
Interpretations of our findings should consider that social
movements organized to lessen group disadvantage usually
challenge cultural stereotypes about the group. With femi-
nist activism, gender stereotypes thus tended to become
politically incorrect, and belief in gender equality became
more correct (Eagly, 2018). To address this potential source
of bias, the analysis of equality responses to the poll items
found a significant increase only in competence. Moreover,
the increase in female advantage in both communion and
competence remained intact when controlled for equality
responding. A related consideration is that increasing pres-
sures for political correctness may have fostered the ascrip-
tion of positive traits to women. However, the analysis of
traits’ evaluative content did not support this supposition.
Another limitation is that our project could not explore
stereotypes resulting from sex intersecting with other cate-
gories (e.g., stereotypes about women and men differing in
race and ethnicity; Ghavami & Peplau, 2013). Yet, given
that people’s observations should be somewhat weighted
toward their own social group, decomposition of the poll
data by respondents’ demographic groups yielded findings
suggestive of intersectionality (e.g., Whites, more than
Blacks, found agency more true of men than women).
Measurement limitations included the categorical form of
the items (i.e., more true of women or men, or equal), which
did not allow expression of the magnitude of perceived sex
differences. Yet, Lueptow et al.’s (2001) report of trends
from 1974 to 1997, based on respondents’ separate ratings
of men and women on 7-point scales, revealed findings very
similar to those in our data: an increase in the communion
of women relative to men and little change in agency.
Another limitation is that the polls did not include implicit
measures of stereotypes, thus limiting understanding of
whether change over time might differ between the two
types of measures (Lemm & Banaji, 1999; Rudman &
Goodwin, 2004).
Yet another limitation is that the polls did not administer
consistent sets of items. In 10 instances, a dimension was
represented by only a single item, a practice that tends to
lower measure reliability but does not necessarily compro-
mise validity (Gardner, Cummings, Dunham, & Pierce,
1998). Variation in the items representing a dimension is
tolerable given that research has demonstrated that traits are
correlated within clusters of communal, agentic, and com-
petent items (e.g., Koenig & Eagly, 2014), lending legiti-
macy to treating similar items as assessing these dimen-
sions. Nevertheless, item responses did vary within
dimensions, as illustrated by the 2018 poll, which revealed
some item variability in responses to the four competence
traits (see Figure S4 in the online supplemental materials).
To address this item inconsistency issue for competence, we
also analyzed the trend over time in the intelligence item.
The similarity of its findings to those for competence in
general suggests that the gain in women’s stereotypical
competence is robust. Moreover, this gain persisted even
after controlling for items’ evaluative content. Nevertheless,
the direction of gender stereotyping no doubt varies across
domains of competence such as verbal, quantitative, and
technical skills.
Despite the project’s large, nationally representative sam-
ples extending over seven decades, another limitation is the
unfortunate lack of poll data between 1950 and 1974, a
period of limited public interest in gender issues. However,
women’s gains relative to men’s in competence and com-
munion were not solely dependent on the possibly anoma-
lous post-World War II data but remained significant even
after the elimination of these data points. All in all, despite
some limitations, this project is the first to recognize the
profound social trend of increasing belief in the compe-
tence equality of women and men, combined with a
decided edge of women over men among those who
perceive competence inequality.
Why haven’t women’s competence gains propelled them
to the top of hierarchies? The reasons probably reside in the
lesser agency ascribed to women, given that leadership is
imbued with this quality (Koenig et al., 2011). Consider also
that the female stereotype of high competence and commu-
nion combined with low agency likely makes women suit-
able for workplace tasks that Babcock, Recalde, Vesterlund,
and Weingart (2017) have labeled low promotability. Such
tasks demand competence, but ambitious employees avoid
them (e.g., routine committee service) because they seldom
further advancement. Indeed, Babcock et al. showed that
women are preferentially chosen for such tasks and are
more likely to accept them.
Despite these concerns about promotability, women’s ad-
vantage over men in communion is likely beneficial for
employment in general. The reason is that analyses of the
labor market over time revealed that jobs increasingly re-
quire high levels of social skills (Deming, 2017). Given also
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
that in general jobs’ cognitive demands have increased as
their physical strength demands have decreased, women’s
gains in perceived competence should favor increased ac-
cess to employment (Rendall, 2017).
In sum, U.S. poll data show that it is only in competence
that gender equality has come to dominate people’s thinking
about women and men. For qualities of personality, the past
73 years have produced an accentuated stereotype of
women as the more communal sex, with men retaining their
agency advantage. These personality findings challenge
people’s everyday assumptions about changes in gender
stereotypes (see Diekman & Eagly, 2000). These results
also call for correction of many social scientists’ claims that
gender stereotypes are unchanging (e.g., Haines et al., 2016)
and that a group’s lower status necessarily implies a stereo-
type of lesser competence (e.g., Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, & Xu,
2002; Ridgeway, 2014). Instead, despite—or because of—
the massive flow of women into paid employment, people’s
beliefs about the sexes are predominantly of personality
difference but competence equality.
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... Ninety-four percent of US childcare workers are women, whereas they present only eight percent of construction managers. Even though working in a human-centric occupation, which is considered to be a female-dominant area, proved to be beneficial for both men and women [36,48], these occupations were historically presented as less prestigious [12]. For this reason, men involved in these areas often experience social disapproval [13]. ...
... Women face an access barrier to men-dominated areas and experience biased attitudes toward women in STEM. This means that women are disadvantaged in taking better-paid and socially respected positions [12]. This situation generates a shortage of out-of-the-box role models and therefore reinforces gender stereotypes, while studies have shown that companies with balanced management staff show better productivity and achieve better results in innovation development [17]. ...
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Context The gender imbalance in technology, sciences, and engineering is a global problem and according to the statistics, this really has not changed much in the last thirty years. Moreover, there is also a lack of women in tech entrepreneurship; most success stories are about male entrepreneurs, and in Silicon Valley the term describing the start-up culture is called “tech bros” for a reason. Objective This paper identifies different factors affecting the women's decision to select a tech sector and become an entrepreneur in the tech sector. In this paper we also aim to identify different pitfalls and problems, which could influence the attractiveness of the tech sector, and specifically technology entrepreneurship, towards the women interested in the science, technology, and engineering domains. Method To study the factors affecting women's interest towards entrepreneurship in the technology sector, we conducted a series of surveys and interviews to understand the underlying phenomena. Overall, this study interviewed ten female company founders, and conducted two surveys with women working, interested, or studying towards the tech sector, allowing us to combine and compare the qualitative data from the women who had become entrepreneurs against the quantitative trends and ideas collected from the general audiences. Results The most common factors limiting the individuals’ interest towards entrepreneurship such as financial risks or high responsibilities might not be gender-related, but there are also aspects as social acceptance, discrimination, and lack of role models, which affect especially the women interested in the possibilities of becoming an entrepreneur in tech. Conclusions In general, the current younger generations are aware of the option of becoming entrepreneurs, and what becoming one requires. Initiatives, such as adding positive examples of females’ success, or supporting entry-level opportunities towards full-time entrepreneurship, could have a meaningful impact of reducing the gender imbalance in the STEM fields, and in technology entrepreneurship in general.
... While there is evidence that competence-related stereotypes about women have changed due to their increased entry into male-dominated fields, a recent meta-analysis reports no change in women being perceived as less agentic and men as less communal (Eagly et al., 2020). This is probably due to the fact that women are more likely to work in communal jobs and men are more likely to work in agency-related occupations. ...
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The chapter titled "Causes and Consequences of Biases and (Gender-) Stereotypes" by Julian Anslinger examines the origins and effects of biases and stereotypes on decision-making and behavior. The author discusses the role of heuristics in the formation of biases and stereotypes. The chapter furthermore discusses the negative consequences of discrimination and the importance of understanding and combating biases and stereotypes in the pursuit of gender and social equality.
... These changes in gender roles can have contradictory effects. For example, they might serve to showcase women's perceived competence in the work domain and men's perceived suitability as carers, and increase cooperation between men and women, which could reduce sexism 167,168 . However, more egalitarian gender roles might ironically increase gender competition and dominative paternalism to keep women in place and protect the gender hierarchy. ...
The theory of and research on ambivalent sexism — which encompasses both attitudes that are overtly negative (hostile sexism) and those that seem subjectively positive but are actually harmful (benevolent sexism) — have made substantial contributions to understanding how sexism operates and the consequences it has for women. It is now clear that sexism takes different forms, some of which can be disguised as protection and flattery. However, all forms of sexism have negative effects on how women are perceived and treated by others as well as on women themselves. Some of these findings have implications for understanding other social inequalities, such as ableism, ageism, racism and classism. In this Review, we summarize what is known about the predictors of ambivalent sexism and its effects. Although we focus on women, we also consider some effects on men, in particular those that indirectly influence women. Throughout the Review we point to societal shifts that are likely to influence how sexism is manifested, experienced and understood. We conclude by discussing the broader implications of these changes and specifying areas of enquiry that need to be addressed to continue making progress in understanding the mechanisms that underlie social inequalities. Sexism encompasses attitudes that are both overtly negative and those that seem subjectively positive but are actually harmful. In this Review, Barreto and Doyle describe the predictors of ambivalent sexism and its effects on women, and consider societal shifts that might influence how sexism is manifested, experienced and understood.
... As women's socio-economic status has changed during the last decades, so have consensual beliefs about their attributes. A recent study from the United States demonstrates that contemporary gender stereotypes put emphasis on women's communion and competence but not on their agency (Eagly et al. 2020). These developments can be explained with the gender segregation of the labor force and women's disproportionately high employment in sectors like education and health care. ...
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This article sheds light on the obstacles that women face as members of the government by answering the questions: How does the sex of ministers shape the way MPs’ assess the quality of their work? And, how does this relationship differ depending on the political ideology of MPs? We argue that legislators assess the competencies of women ministers differently after the activation of gender stereotypes, but that the way they react depends on the ideological orientation of their party. We investigate this topic in a real-word context using a unique survey experiment with German and Austrian MPs. The evidence reveals that, while MPs belonging to right-wing parties perceive women in the executive as less competent than men ministers, their colleagues from left-wing parties actually assess them more favorably. These findings highlight the persistence of old myths about women’s lacking political skills and the emergence of new ones about women’s superior ability to govern.
... Finally, at the core of the idea that women politicians face double standards when they violate stereotypically expected behaviours is that voters actually hold these expectations for women's behaviour in the first place. However, studies show that the public's perception of the validity of these stereotypes has shifted over time, as women have been seen as increasingly agentic (Eagly et al. 2020). Voters in the UK have also become more gender-egalitarian in their attitudes (Taylor and Scott 2018) and markedly less likely to support traditional gendered divisions in social roles (Shorrocks 2018). ...
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Do the styles politicians use influence how voters evaluate them, and does this matter more for women than for men? Politicians regularly use anecdotal arguments, emotional appeals and aggressive attacks when communicating with voters. However, that women politicians have been branded as ‘nasty’, ‘inhuman’ and ‘unfeminine’ suggests that these strategies may come at a price for some. I report on a novel survey experiment assessing whether voters are biased in their perceptions and evaluations of politicians' communication styles. By manipulating politician gender and argument style, I assess, first, whether politicians incur backlash when violating gender-based stereotypes and, secondly, whether differential perceptions of the styles themselves explain this backlash. I find that style usage has important consequences for how voters evaluate politicians but that this is not gendered. These results have important implications, as they suggest that women politicians may not need to conform to stereotype-expected behaviours in order to receive positive voter evaluations.
Research on gender role stereotypes activated in interactions with humanoid robots has yet to produce conclusive knowledge. To analyse how much, and in which way, gender role stereotypes used in interactions with humans are also called into play in interactions with humanoid robots, a study was conducted with 240 participants. The study was an online survey in which a scale was used for determining the appropriateness for performing four stereotypically masculine and four feminine by humans and robots. Overall, eight humanoid robots – four judged feminine and four masculine – were considered. Results showed that gender role stereotypes are activated for both genders, but men most strongly activate those pertaining to male roles. These stereotypes are also adopted in reference to humanoid robots, though robots are generally considered less suitable for performing female roles. Furthermore, an increased degree of similarity of robots to humans has a positive effect in assessing the appropriateness to perform female roles only for female robots. The same does not happen with male robots. These results suggest that male and female robots are not categorised in the same way. Robots are essentially perceived as male entities, a particularly relevant hypothesis for the gender-sensitive design of humanoid robots.
As Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology rapidly develops and spreads into daily life, it becomes crucial to anticipate how its use could harm people. However, our ways of assessing the biases of NLP models have not kept up. While especially the detection of English gender bias in such models has enjoyed increasing research attention, many of the measures face serious problems, as it is often unclear what they actually measure and how much they are subject to measurement error. In this paper, we provide an interdisciplinary approach to discussing the issue of NLP model bias by adopting the lens of psychometrics -- a field specialized in the measurement of concepts like bias that are not directly observable. We pair an introduction of relevant psychometric concepts with a discussion of how they could be used to evaluate and improve bias measures. We also argue that adopting psychometric vocabulary and methodology can make NLP bias research more efficient and transparent.
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Chatbots have in recent years increasingly been used by organizations to interact with their customers. Interestingly, most of these chatbots are gendered as female, displaying stereotypical notions in their avatars, profile pictures and language. Considering the harmful effects associated with gender-based stereotyping at a societal level—and in particular the detrimental effects to women—it is crucial to understand the effects of such stereotyping when transferred and perpetuated by chatbots. The current study draws on the Stereotype Content Model (SCM) and explores how the warmth (high vs. low) of a chatbot’s language and the chatbot’s assigned gender elicit stereotypes that affect the perceived trust, helpfulness, and competence of the chatbot. In doing so, this study shows how established stereotype theory can be used as a framework for human-machine communication research. Moreover, its results can serve as a foundation to explore ways of mitigating the perpetuation of stereotyping and bring forward a broader discussion on ethical considerations for human-machine communication.
Gender is a condition of being a male or female. Much of the time, it is generally defined by social and social distinctions rather than biological differences. Gender stereotype generalizations are currently present for life. Even though a disposition to mess up a part of the present gender stereotypes-related platitude occurs due to late unreasonably being insufficient to deal with the issues that comprise gender lays out. Whereas generally, females wind up being casualties of gender stereotypes, males experience the adverse effects of criminal offenses associated with maleness. Women's works tend to be predominantly traditional and less prestigious, while personalities are predominantly shy and passive characterization. Women are primarily engaged in domestic and in-house jobs, while men are more likely to exist in specialist facilities. There appears to be a systematic under-representation of women, regardless of whether we consider the text or images. The study shows a point of view for the effect of gender stereotypes and the progression of female stereotypes in the 21st century.
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This chapter shows that agency and communion are essential to understanding the psychology of gender. Gender stereotypes, in their descriptive and prescriptive forms, follow from a societal division of labor whereby women tend to be concentrated in communally demanding roles and men in agentically demanding roles. People’s inferences of communal and agentic traits underlying the typical role behaviors of women and men yield gender stereotypes. These stereotypes in turn can enhance or compromise the ability of women and men to occupy and succeed in social roles that demand agentic or communal qualities. To the extent that people internalize stereotypes pertaining to their gender, they gain gender identities by which women regard themselves as especially communal and men as especially agentic. In addition, these identities and related personal goals regulate the attraction of each sex to social roles that afford opportunities to meet communal or agentic goals.
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BACKGROUND Declining occupational sex segregation in the late 20th century helped to usher in unprecedented occupational and economic advancement for women. As the 21st century dawned, that advancement stalled. OBJECTIVE We examine how occupational integration occurred in the early decades of the 21st century by focusing on (1) the extent of occupational feminization and masculinization and (2) occupational succession. More broadly we examine how the representation of women in detailed occupational categories changed between 2000 and 2014, regardless of whether they were historically 'male' or 'female,' and how sociodemographic characteristics contributed to uneven shifts in occupational integration. METHODS We use Integrated Public Use Microdata Series data to estimate the percentage point female at the detailed occupation level, specifically the 5% census microdata sample for 2000, and two 1% American Community Survey (ACS) samples for 2013 and 2014. RESULTS Despite a stall in overall integration, there was much fluctuation within detailed occupations. Moreover, occupational inroads have been uneven in the post-2000 period. Women gained entry into the same types of professional and managerial occupations they entered between 1970 and 2000, especially in the health professions. Men increased their representation in lower-level, nonprofessional occupations.
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Stereotypes are often presumed to exaggerate group differences, but empirical evidence is mixed. We suggest exaggeration is moderated by the accessibility of specific stereotype content. In particular, because the most accessible stereotype contents are attributes perceived to differ between groups, those attributes are most likely to exaggerate actual group differences due to regression to the mean. We tested this hypothesis using a highly accessible gender stereotype: that women are more socially sensitive than men. We confirmed that the most accessible stereotype content involves attributes perceived to differ between groups (pretest), and that these stereotypes contain some accuracy but significantly exaggerate actual gender differences (Experiment 1). We observe less exaggeration when judging less accessible stereotype content (Experiment 2), or when judging individual men and women (Experiment 3). Considering the accessibility of specific stereotype content may explain when stereotypes exaggerate actual group differences and when they do not.
Research on sex differences in humans documents gender differences in sensory, motor, and spatial aptitudes. These aptitudes, as captured by Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) codes, predict the occupational choices of men and women in the directions indicated by this research. We simulate that eliminating selection on these skills reduces the Duncan index of gender-based occupational segregation by 20 % to 23 % in 1970 and 2012, respectively. Eliminating selection on DOT variables capturing other accounts of this segregation has a smaller impact.
This integrative review presents the Agentic–Communal Model of Advantage and Disadvantage to offer insight into the psychology of inequality. This model examines the relation between individuals’ position of advantage or disadvantage in a social hierarchy and their propensity toward agency and communion. We begin by identifying and reviewing four inequalities—Resources, Opportunities, Appraisals, and Deference, or the ROAD of inequality—that are fundamental to social advantage and disadvantage. We explain how these inequalities can instill a sense of advantage and disadvantage in individuals. Next, we discuss two core drivers of human behavior: agency and communion. We integrate these literatures to introduce the model's central propositions: a sense of advantage orients individuals toward agency and a sense of disadvantage orients individuals toward communion. We review evidence for this model across four distinct social hierarchies: power, social class, gender, and race. A number of findings suggest that higher-power individuals, higher-class individuals, men, and Whites express greater agency, whereas lower-power individuals, lower-class individuals, women, and minorities express greater communion. We also consider results in the literature that appear inconsistent with our propositions (i.e., when the advantaged are communal and the disadvantaged are agentic) and offer theoretical integrations to resolve these apparent contradictions. In particular, we highlight how the orthogonal nature of agency and communion can produce behavior that results from the combination of high agency and communion. To help motivate a future research agenda, we note the importance of both hierarchy salience and cultural considerations in determining individuals’ orientations toward agency and communion. Finally, we consider the implications of this model for the study of social hierarchy and inequality, as well as the consequences of rising inequality levels.
Stereotype research emphasizes systematic processes over seemingly arbitrary contents, but content also may prove systematic. On the basis of stereotypes' intergroup functions, the stereotype content model hypothesizes that (a) 2 primary dimensions are competence and warmth, (b) frequent mixed clusters combine high warmth with low competence (paternalistic) or high competence with low warmth (envious), and (c) distinct emotions (pity, envy, admiration, contempt) differentiate the 4 competence-warmth combinations. Stereotypically, (d) status predicts high competence, and competition predicts low warmth. Nine varied samples rated gender, ethnicity, race, class, age, and disability out-groups. Contrary to antipathy models, 2 dimensions mattered, and many stereotypes were mixed, either pitying (low competence, high warmth subordinates) or envying (high competence, low warmth competitors). Stereotypically, status predicted competence, and competition predicted low warmth.
The labor market increasingly rewards social skills. Between 1980 and 2012, jobs requiring high levels of social interaction grew by nearly 12 percentage points as a share of the U.S. labor force. Math-intensive but less social jobs-including many STEM occupations-shrank by 3.3 percentage points over the same period. Employment and wage growth were particularly strong for jobs requiring high levels of both math skill and social skills. To understand these patterns, I develop a model of team production where workers "trade tasks" to exploit their comparative advantage. In the model, social skills reduce coordination costs, allowing workers to specialize and work together more efficiently. The model generates predictions about sorting and the relative returns to skill across occupations, which I investigate using data from the NLSY79 and the NLSY97. Using a comparable set of skill measures and covariates across survey waves, I find that the labor market return to social skills was much greater in the 2000s than in the mid-1980s and 1990s. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.
Technical Report
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) reported continued growth in total graduate enrollment, first-time enrollments, number of applications, and degrees conferred at U.S. universities in its report, CGS/GRE Graduate Enrollment & Degrees: 2006-2016.