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Abstract

The authors assess sex differences in the importance of 10 basic values as guiding principles. Findings from 127 samples in 70 countries (N = 77,528) reveal that men attribute consistently more importance than women do to power, stimulation, hedonism, achievement, and self-direction values; the reverse is true for benevolence and universalism values and less consistently for security values. The sexes do not differ on tradition and conformity values. Sex differences are small (median d = .15; maximum d = .32 [power]) and typically explain less variance than age and much less than culture. Culture moderates all sex differences and sample type and measurement instrument have minor influences. The authors discuss compatibility of findings with evolutionary psychology and sex role theory and propose an agenda for future research.
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Running head: GENDER EQUALITY AND SEX DIFFERENCES IN VALUES
Cross-National Variation in the Size of Sex Differences in Values: Effects of Gender Equality
Shalom H. Schwartz
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and University of Bergen
and
Tammy Rubel-Lifschitz
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Authors’ Note: Israel Science Foundation Grant No. 921/02 to Shalom Schwartz supported
this research.
Correspondence should be directed to Shalom Schwartz, Department of Psychology, The
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905, Israel. E-mail: msshasch@mscc.huji.ac.il
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Abstract
How does gender equality relate to men’s and women’s value priorities? We hypothesize
that, for both sexes, the importance of benevolence, universalism, stimulation, hedonism and
self-direction values increases with greater gender equality whereas the importance of power,
achievement, security, and tradition values decreases. Of particular relevance to the
present study, increased gender equality should also permit both sexes to pursue
more freely the values they inherently care about more. Drawing on evolutionary and role
theories, we postulate that woman inherently value benevolence and universalism more than
men, whereas men inherently value power, achievement, and stimulation more than women.
Thus, as gender equality increases sex differences in these values should increase, whereas
sex differences in other values should not be affected by increases in gender equality. Studies
of 25 representative national samples and of students from 68 countries confirmed the
hypotheses except for tradition values. Implications for cross-cultural research on sex
differences in values and traits are discussed.
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Does societal gender equality influence the relative importance that women as
opposed to men attribute to independence, helpfulness, power, or obedience? Does gender
equality affect the size of sex1 differences in such basic human values? This study
reexamines sex differences in value priorities across countries and assesses relations of value
priorities to gender equality. It then turns to its central focus, identifying and explaining
cross-national variation in the magnitude of sex differences in ten basic human values.
To this end, we adopt the approach to values elaborated by Schwartz (1992). He
defined basic values as broad, trans-situational goals that vary in importance as guiding
principles in life. The crucial content aspect differentiating among values is the motivational
goals they express. Table 1 presents each of 10 basic values Schwartz distinguished, its
defining motivational goal, and exemplary items used to measure it. Research in more than
75 countries supports the discrimination of these 10 values and provides evidence of their
predicted associations with numerous attitudes, behaviors, and personality traits (summarized
in Schwartz 2006a).
A study of 127 samples from 70 countries found consistent cross-cultural sex
differences for seven of the 10 basic human values (Schwartz & Rubel, 2005). Men
attributed more importance than women did to power, stimulation, hedonism, achievement,
and self-direction values. Women attributed more importance than men did to benevolence
and universalism values. Less consistently, women attributed more importance to security
values, but there was no consistent sex difference for tradition and conformity values.
Despite the consistency of sex differences across countries, the average effect size
was small, usually <.2. However, this small average effect size obscured substantial
variation across countries. For example, the effect size ranged from .70 in Ethiopia (women
higher) to -.78 in Austria for conformity values, and from .59 in Finland to -.64 in Ethiopia
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
for universalism values (Appendix D in Schwartz & Rubel, 2005). Apparently, societal
characteristics influence the size and direction of sex differences in the importance of values.
For 19 European countries, Schwartz and Rubel (2005) reported that the greater the
social, health, and employment equality of women and men in a country (Population Crisis
Committee 1988), the larger the sex differences in power and benevolence values.
Surprisingly, in countries with greater gender equality (e.g., Finland), men attributed
substantially more importance to power values but substantially less to benevolence values
than women. In countries with less gender equality (e.g., Greece), these sex differences were
relatively small. Interestingly, similar findings have been reported for other aspects of
personality: Sex differences in certain traits (Costa et al., 2001) and aspects of emotional
experience (Fischer & Manstead, 2000) were larger in countries with greater gender equality.
Does this unexpected pattern found for power and benevolence values, personality
traits, and emotions hold for all 10 values? Schwartz and Rubel (2005) did not report
associations of sex differences with gender equality for the other eight values. They noted
only that the sex difference in one value, self-direction, was no larger in more wealthy and
autonomous than in less wealthy and autonomous European countries.
In order to understand variation in the size of sex differences in values, we first consider
probable effects of gender equality on the importance of each value for both women and men.
Gender equality correlates highly with other societal characteristics known to affect men's and
women's value priorities: country wealth (.84, GNP per capita), democracy (.64), and cultural
autonomy (.66) across 68 countries.2 Correlations of these country characteristics with value
priorities (Schwartz & Sagie, 2000) lead us to expect gender equality to relate positively with
benevolence, universalism, self-direction, stimulation, and hedonism values and negatively with
security, tradition, conformity, power, and achievement values. Greater wealth, individual
freedom, and cultural autonomy make it easier to pursue values like self-direction and hedonism
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
successfully and they make it less necessary to pursue anxiety-based values like power, security,
and conformity (Schwartz, 2006a, 2007a).
These associations of gender equality with values are in the same direction for men and
women. However, the associations may be stronger for some values for men and stronger for
others for women. This would lead to divergence between the sexes in value priorities. If a
certain value is inherently more important to one sex, its importance would increase more
sharply for that sex as changing societal conditions facilitate its expression and pursuit. The
facilitating conditions would enable those for whom that value is inherently more important to
express it more freely. For example, assume that universalism values are likely to be
inherently more important for women. If so, increased social expectations and opportunities
to take part in civil rights movements and reduced social constraints against doing so will
give rise to an increase in the importance of universalism for both sexes, but the increase
should be sharper for women than for men.
Conversely, as societal conditions discourage and constrain the pursuit and
expression of a value, its importance would decrease more slowly for the sex to which it is
inherently more important. Members of the relevant sex are more likely to resist pressures to
relinquish it. For example, assume that power values are inherently more important for men.
If so, increased sanctions and constraints against pursuing self-interest at others’ expense will
give rise to a decrease in the importance of power values for both sexes, but the decrease will
be smaller among men than among women.
Some values may not be inherently more important to one or the other sex. As
societal conditions change to encourage or discourage the expression and pursuit of these
values, we expect similar rates of increase or decrease in their importance to both sexes. We
next explicate why particular values may be more important inherently to women or to men.
Identifying Values Likely to be Inherently Important to Women or Men
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
In order to identify the values likely to be inherently more important to one or the
other sex, we draw upon two sources, evolutionary psychology and social role theory.
Evolutionary psychology argues that the adaptive problems our ancestors faced gave rise to
fundamental psychological goals that guide contemporary human cognition and behavior
within specific life domains (Kenrick et al., 2002). Values are, in part, expressions of these
fundamental goals. The two sexes faced different adaptive problems and developed different
cognitive and affective mechanisms in two domains in particular, mating and reproduction.
In other domains, they faced largely similar adaptive problems. This reasoning suggests that
particular valued goals are likely to be inherently more important to one or the other sex.
From social role theory, we consider the biological and physical features that presumably
give rise to prevalent gender differences in role allocation and expectations. Especially
important are the differences between women’s and men’s functions in reproduction and in
their size and strength (Wood & Eagly, 2002).
For some values, social role theory and evolutionary approaches provide
complementary bases for inferring that values are inherently more important to one sex. For
other values, only one approach is relevant. The following sections specify the values likely
to be inherently more important to men or to women. The rationales draw either upon
evolutionary psychology or social role theory, or both, according to their relevance. The
rationales relate the approaches to the motivational goals of the values (see Table 1, above).
Power, Achievement, and Stimulation Values: Inherently Male?
Power and achievement are values likely to be inherently more important to men, based
on both approaches. The defining goal of power values is to attain and protect status, prestige,
and dominance over people and resources (Schwartz, 1992). The defining goal of achievement
values is personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards.
Power and achievement values share the motivation of enhancing personal interests.
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Evolutionary analyses (e.g., Davies & Shackelford, 2008) note that women had to
invest more than men in parenting. To avoid wasting their investment, women sought mates
who could contribute resources to raising their child, helping the child to reach reproductive
age. Women used men's status as a cue for mate selection because dominant, high status men
typically controlled more resources. Consequently, to enhance their success in competing for
mates (Kenrick et al., 2002), status seeking became a central psychological goal for men.
Thus, the pursuit of power and achievement became inherently more important for men.
Supporting these arguments, research shows that women rate attributes associated with
power and achievement (e.g., rank, ambition) as more desirable in a mate than men do, men
more frequently use tactics to attract mates that involve displaying these attributes, and men
derogate rivals as lacking these attributes (e.g., Buss & Schmitt, 1993, 1996).
The social role perspective (Wood & Eagly, 2002) points to the interaction of the
demands of the socioeconomic and ecological systems with men’s higher testosterone levels
and larger physical size. This interaction may account for men’s predominance across
cultures in occupations that enjoy more power and status (Whyte, 1978). Their biological and
physical characteristics may incline men to seek power and achievement in the labor market
and hence to value them more than women do.
The inherently greater importance of these two values for men implies that men will
relinquish them more slowly than women will when social conditions provide less
justification for their expression. The increasing wealth and autonomy that accompany
greater gender equality weaken the justification for pursuing power and achievement.
Stimulation values may also be inherently more important to men. With their defining
goal of excitement, novelty, and challenge in life, they motivate risk-taking. Evolutionary
psychology suggests that men are inherently more inclined to take risks than women. It
argues that competition among men for mates is greater than among women because it offers
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
men greater reproductive gains from winning and a greater likelihood of total reproductive
failure from losing (Daly & Wilson, 2001). Pursuing success in this competition is likely to
have produced sexual selection pressures for men to evolve a psychology that makes them
more willing than women to undertake risks (Davies & Shackelford, 2008). Supporting these
arguments is evidence that men take more risks than women do (Byrnes, Miller, & Schafer,
1999), have higher rates of death in accidents (e.g., Holinger, 1987; Wilson & Daly, 1997),
and more frequently expose themselves to substance abuse (e.g., Irwin, Igra, Eyre, &
Millstein, 1997). The increasing wealth and autonomy that accompany greater gender
equality facilitate the pursuit of stimulation. They should lead to a sharper increase in the
importance of stimulation values among men.
Benevolence and Universalism Values: Inherently Female?
Benevolence values motivate people to preserve and enhance the welfare of close
others. Benevolence values apply most critically to relations within the family. Evolutionary
reasoning suggests that women will seek to maximize the return on their large initial parental
investment by evolving goals of caring for their children’s welfare. Hence, it is more crucial
for women than for men to promote supportive family relations that create an environment
that enables their child to reach reproductive age. Moreover, it is more important to women
to maintain long-term relationships and women are less willing than men to engage in short-
term affairs (Davies & Shackelford, 2008). Social role theory attributes women’s central role
in caring for family members largely to their ability to gestate. Their role in reproduction and
caring gives them more direct experience as nurturers (Valian, 1998). In virtually all
contemporary societies, women continue to have primary responsibility for childbearing and
nursing, care for children, the sick, and elderly, and running the home (Georgas, et al., 2006).
Together, women’s roles, experiences, and their adaptive gain from caring for close others
may make benevolence values inherently more important to women.
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Universalism values have as their goal understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and
protection for the welfare of all people and for nature. Like benevolence values, they entail
transcending selfish interests for the sake of others. The inherently greater importance of
benevolence values to women may also generalize to universalism values because
universalism values emerge through the extension of benevolence values beyond the in-group to
the wider society. According to the theory of basic values, self-transcendence (benevolence
and universalism) and self-enhancement (power and achievement) values are motivationally
opposed (Schwartz, 1992). That is, it is difficult to pursue both of them simultaneously.
Consequently, emphasizing one leads to deemphasizing the other. The motivational conflict
between these two types of values may amplify any inherent sex difference for both. Thus,
gender equality should increase the importance of benevolence and universalism values for
both sexes, but the increase should be sharper for women than for men.
Security, Conformity, Tradition, Self-Direction, and Hedonism: No Inherent Sex Difference?
Three values, security, conformity and tradition, share an underlying motivation to avoid
threats and anxiety and to preserve the status quo (Schwartz, 1992, 2006a). We posit no inherent
sex differences in these values.
The goal of security values is safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships,
and of the self. Evolutionary reasoning suggests that both sexes develop psychological
mechanisms that motivate vigilant avoidance of whatever poses threats to health or survival
(Kenrick et al., 2002). The self-protective motivation that security values express is therefore
equally relevant to both sexes. Because self-protection is critical in all social roles, social role
theory also implies no inherent association of security values with one or the other sex.
The goal of conformity values is restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to
upset or harm others or to violate social expectations or norms in everyday interaction. The goal
of tradition values is respect, commitment, and acceptance of customs and ideas imposed by
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
one's culture or religion. Both types of values derive from the need to inhibit behavior that might
disrupt social relations and undermine group solidarity.
Conformity and tradition values may serve the evolutionary goal of building and
maintaining coalitions. Coalitional bonds promote cooperation and mutual assistance in times
of need and contribute significantly to reproductive fitness (Kenrick et al., 2002). Coalitions
were useful to men for hunting, warfare, and defense, and to women for food gathering,
child-care, and homemaking. Inhibiting disruptive impulses and violations of expectations
would be critical for maintaining effective coalitions for both men and women. Adhering to
the customs and traditions that symbolize and ensure group solidarity would strengthen
coalitions for both women and men. Any system of social roles, whether predominantly the
domain of men or of women, functions more smoothly and benefits if its occupants value
conformity and tradition. This helps to avoid conflict within the group and to maintain accepted
practices and beliefs. Thus, neither evolutionary psychology nor social role theory imply that the
importance of conformity and tradition values is inherently greater for women or for men.
The goal of self-direction values is independent thought and action--choosing,
creating, exploring. Self-direction values are a transformation of individual needs for control
and mastery (e.g., Bandura, 1977) and for some independence and autonomy in interaction
(e.g., Kluckhohn, 1951 in Schwartz, 1992). Both women and men have these needs. From an
evolutionary perspective, exercising some independence, creativity, and exploration were
requisites for success both in men’s hunting, warfare, and defense activities and in women’s
food gathering and efforts to attract an appropriate mate. They are also requisites for men and
women to succeed in such currently gender-differentiated occupational roles as engineering
and elementary school teaching. Given the relevance of self-direction to both men and
women, both from evolutionary and social role perspectives, we see no reason to posit that the
importance of self-direction values is inherently different for men and women.
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
The goal of hedonism values is pleasure, fun, and enjoyment in life. Men and women
may seek enjoyment in different activities, but we find no grounds to assume that the basic
goal is inherently more important to one or the other sex. Both sexes may find pleasure in
socializing, sports, eating, drinking, etc., and women enjoy sex just as much as men do
(Baumeister, Catanese, & Vohs, 2001). Hedonism values and the items that measure them
refer to the full range of activities in which women and men engage in order to find pleasure
in life. Thus, neither social role differences nor evolutionary adaptations suggest that the
importance of hedonism values is inherently greater for men or for women.
The above analyses suggest that security, conformity, tradition, self-direction, and
hedonism values are inherently no more important for either sex. Therefore, although
increasing gender equality gives women and men more freedom to pursue the values they
inherently care about, it should not increase the size of sex differences in the importance of
these values. Indeed, a social role perspective suggests that increasing gender equality might
lead to smaller sex-differences in these values because gender role expectations and
experiences become less differentiated.
Hypotheses
We test six hypotheses. Hypotheses 1 and 2 specify effects of societal gender equality
on the overall importance of the 10 values for women and men. They are based on the
assumption that greater gender equality and societal characteristics associated with it
facilitate and encourage the pursuit of some values (H1) and discourage and constrain the
pursuit of others (H2). Hypotheses 3, 4, 5 and 6 specify the effects of societal gender equality
on the size of sex differences in the importance of the 10 values. They are based on the
inherent relations of sex with the importance of particular values that we postulate.
1. The importance of benevolence, universalism, self-direction, stimulation, and hedonism
values is associated with higher societal gender equality.
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
2. The importance of power, achievement, security, conformity, and tradition values is
associated with lower societal gender equality.
3. For benevolence and universalism values, whose importance we propose is inherently greater
for women, the association with gender equality is more positive for women than for men. This
produces larger sex differences with greater gender equality (divergence).
4. For power and achievement values, whose importance we propose is inherently greater for
men, the association with gender equality is less negative for men than for women. This
produces larger sex differences with greater gender equality (divergence).
5. For stimulation values, whose importance we propose is inherently greater for men, the
association with gender equality is more positive for men than for women. This too produces
larger sex differences with greater gender equality (divergence).
6. For conformity, security, tradition, self-direction, and hedonism values, whose importance
we propose is not inherently greater for men or women, gender equality is unrelated to sex
differences or, possibly, negatively related (convergence).
We test the hypotheses separately in representative national samples and in university
student samples. Representative samples allow maximum generalization; students reduce
possible confounding influences that could distort national differences because students share
many background characteristics. Findings are unlikely to be biased by the selection of
countries because the countries cover the whole continuum of social structural and cultural
dimensions.
Method
Samples and Procedure
Study 1: Strict probability samples, representing the population 15 years and older in
each of 25 countries, were taken from the European Social Survey (ESS), 19 from round one
(2002-2003) and five more from round two (2003-4). The countries included: Austria,
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain,
Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. We treated West Germany and East
Germany as separate cultural units because distinct country level characteristics are available
for each. The data were taken from website http://ess.nsd.uib.no and cleaned as reported
below.
Study 2: University and college students from 68 countries (118 samples) participated
between 1988 and 2005.3 We combined multiple samples from the same country and treated
East and West Germany as separate units. The 68 countries, listed in Appendix A, represent
much of the cultural diversity of literate human societies. Appendix A also lists the number
of men and women in each sample (Study 1 total N=42,3554; Study 2 total N=25,968).
Value Instruments
Study 1. Respondents completed a version of the Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ;
Schwartz, et al. 2001) shortened and revised for the European Social Survey (Schwartz,
2007b; Schwartz & Rubel, 2005). This version includes verbal portraits of 21 different
people, gender-matched with the respondent. Each portrait describes a person’s goals,
aspirations, or wishes that point implicitly to the importance of a value. For example: "It is
very important to him to help the people around him. He wants to care for their well-being"
describes a person who cherishes benevolence values. The 21 items are listed in Appendix B.
For each portrait, respondents answer “How much like you is this person?” on a 6-pt.
labeled scale from “not like me at all (1)” to “very much like me (6).” The importance of a
value is the mean response to the items that measure it. Thus, we infer respondents’ own
values from their self-reported similarity to people described implicitly in terms of values.
Internal reliabilities of the values are necessarily low because the two items that measure
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
each value (3 for universalism) are intended to cover the conceptual breadth of the value
rather than a core idea. Alpha averaged .58, ranging from .37 (tradition) to .70 (achievement).
Despite low reliabilities, hypothesized associations of these value scores support their
validity. Across numerous countries, they correlated with voluntary memberships, political
activism, immigration attitudes, social involvement, and interpersonal trust (Schwartz,
2007b). Even tradition, whose reliability is lowest, correlates predictably with education, age,
religiosity, interest in politics, and rejection of homosexuality (all p<.0001). Moreover, the
21 items form the prototypical, motivational structure of 10 values in a multi-dimensional
scaling analysis (MDS: Davidov, Schmidt, & Schwartz, 2008; Schwartz, 2007b).
Study 2. Respondents completed the Schwartz Value Survey (SVS: Schwartz, 1992)
that presents two lists of abstract value items. Each item expresses the motivational goal of
one of the 10 values (see Table 1). An explanatory phrase following each item further
specifies its meaning. For example, ‘FREEDOM (freedom of action and thought)’ is a self-
direction item. Respondents rate each item "as a guiding principle in MY life" on a 9-pt scale
from 7 (of supreme importance) through 0 (not important), to -1 (opposed to my values).
Samples responded either to the 56-item or revised 57-item SVS (Schwartz, 1992, 2006a).
The items used to index each value were those designated a priori as markers that also
demonstrated near-equivalent meanings in studies in 67 countries (Schwartz, 1992, 2006a).
Three to five items indexed each value (except eight for universalism). Alpha averaged .67,
ranging from .55 (self-direction) to .74 (universalism).
Correcting Scale Use. In both studies, we excluded respondents who skipped more
than 30% of the items or who used the same point on the response scale for more than 80%
of the items, thereby discriminating little among values. We also centered each person’s
responses on his or her own mean for all items to eliminate individual differences in use of
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
the response scale (Schwartz, 1992, 2006a; Schwartz & Rubel, 2005). This converts absolute
scores into value priorities that indicate the relative importance of each value to the person.5
Meaning Equivalence. For valid comparison of men’s and women’s values across
countries, the values should have similar meanings across sexes and cultures. MDS analyses
of SVS data gathered in 15 languages showed that this was so for adult and student women
and men in 21 countries from eight cultural regions (Struch, Schwartz, & van der Kloot,
2001). MDS and multi-group confirmatory factor analyses (MGCFA) of the values measured
with the PVQ in 19 representative European samples and an MGCFA analysis of the values
measured with the SVS across 15 adult samples supported the near-equivalence of meaning
of the values across both sex and culture for both instruments (Schwartz & Rubel, 2005).
Gender Equality
Where available, we preferred country characteristics that predated the value scores
because values are largely acquired prior to age 18 (Grusec & Kuczynski, 2001). Two
indicators directly measured societal gender equality. The Population Crisis Center (1988)
‘index of gender equality’ for the 1980’s averages women’s health, education, employment, and
social equality. Prescott-Allen’s (2001) ‘index of gender equity’ for the mid- to late-1990’s
measures male-female differences in income, education, and representation in the national
parliament. We measured gender equality in role opportunities indirectly with average family
size in 1985, reversed (Encyclopedia Britannica Almanac, 1987). Childbearing and rearing keep
women home less in smaller families, so they can devote more time to extra-familial activity. In
a factor analysis in each study, all three indicators loaded > .89 on a single factor. We therefore
used the factor scores, computed separately for each study, to derive a more reliable index of
gender equality. Appendix A provides the scores for each country for each study.
Analyses
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Sex and values are individual level variables, whereas gender equality is a characteristic
of the countries in which individuals are nested. We therefore employed hierarchical linear
modeling to test the hypotheses (HLM: Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002). At the individual level,
respondent sex predicted value importance, yielding a coefficient for the sex effect on each
value across countries (the sex slope). In Study 1, we controlled effects of age and education
because they vary substantially in representative samples. At the country level, gender equality
predicted both mean country value importance and the size and direction of sex effects on
values, that is, the sex slopes within countries.
Results
Values Expected to Show Divergent Sex Effects with Greater Gender Equality
Table 2 reports the HLM coefficients for the five values hypothesized to show larger
sex differences the greater the gender equality in a country (divergence). The top panel
presents results for Study 1 (25 representative national samples), the lower panel for Study 2
(student samples from 68 countries). The coefficients in column one indicate the average
effect of sex on each value (sex slope). Those in the second and third columns test our
hypotheses. Column two indicates effects of gender equality on the mean importance of each
value across countries. Column three indicates effects of gender equality on the sex slopes.
The coefficients in column one are all significant, replicating findings reported in
Schwartz and Rubel (2005). The positive slopes for sex indicate that benevolence and
universalism values are more important to women (coded 2) than to men (coded 1) across
countries in both studies. The negative slopes indicate that power, achievement, and
stimulation values are more important to men.
The coefficients in the column two indicate that gender equality relates significantly
to the importance of each value across countries in both studies. Greater gender equality
16
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
predicts more importance of benevolence, universalism, and stimulation and less importance
of power and achievement. This confirms hypotheses 1 and 2 for these values in both studies.
The coefficients in column three test the hypotheses regarding the effect of gender
equality on the size of sex differences in value importance. Nine of the 10 are significant, and
all are in the hypothesized direction. In both studies, the coefficients indicate that the positive
association of benevolence and universalism values with gender equality is stronger for
women than for men. The coefficients also indicate that the negative association of power
and achievement values with gender equality is weaker for men than for women. Finally, the
positive association of stimulation values with gender equality is stronger for men than for
women. This confirms hypotheses 3, 4, and 5 in both studies.
Exemplary Figures 1a and 1b illustrate two sets of the findings. They show that
benevolence values are more important to women and power values more important to men.
Relevant to the hypotheses, they show that the sex differences in the importance of these two
values are larger (diverge) under high gender equality. Moreover, this divergence is due to a
sharper rise in the importance of benevolence values among women and to a shallower drop
in the importance of power values among men.
Values Expected to Show No Change or Reduced Sex Effects with Greater Gender Equality
Table 3 reports the HLM coefficients for the five values hypothesized to show no
larger sex differences with greater societal gender equality. The positive sex slopes in column
one indicate that women rate security values more important than men do in both studies and
tradition values more important in Study 1. The negative slopes indicate that men rate self-
direction and hedonism values more important than women do in both studies. There was no
sex effect for conformity values in either study or for tradition values in Study 2.
The significant coefficients in column two indicate that, in both studies, self-direction
and hedonism values are more important whereas tradition and security values are less
17
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
important in countries with greater gender equality. Conformity values are less important in
countries with greater gender equality in Study 1, but unrelated to gender equality in Study 2.
Except for the last finding, these results confirm predictions in hypothesis 1 and hypothesis
2.
According to hypothesis 6, gender equality is unrelated or negatively related to the
size of sex differences in the five values in Table 3. The coefficients in column three fit this
expectation for four values (conformity, security, self-direction, and hedonism) in both
studies, supporting hypothesis 6. For self-direction, there is even evidence that the sex
difference is smaller under high gender equality. The coefficients for tradition confound
expectations, however. In the ESS study, there is a larger sex difference (women higher)
under high gender equality (Figure 2a). In the student study, in contrast, there is a crossover
interaction: Women rate tradition values more important where gender equality is low; men
rate tradition values more important where gender equality is high (Figure 2b). Figure 2b
reveals that the size of the sex difference is small at both levels of gender equality.
Discussion
The current research sought to explain cross-national variation in the size of sex
differences in values. We hypothesized that this variation depends upon the level of societal
gender equality. We further hypothesized that, with greater gender equality, sex differences are
larger for five values identified as inherently more important for one sex. In contrast, we
expected the size of sex differences not to relate to gender equality for five other values
identified as having no inherent association with one or the other sex.
We first established that the sex differences in the 10 basic values reported by Schwartz
and Rubel (2005) replicated when analyzed in a different manner in an expanded set of samples.
Men attributed more importance to power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, and self-
18
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
direction values. Women attributed more importance to benevolence, universalism, and security
values. There were no consistent differences for conformity and tradition values.
We then tested hypothesized relations between gender equality and the overall
importance of each value. As hypothesized, in societies with greater gender equality, both men
and women attributed more importance to benevolence, universalism, self-direction, hedonism,
and stimulation values. Increased individual resources of wealth, education, and autonomy
that accompany greater gender equality facilitate the expression and attainment of these
values. Also as hypothesized, both sexes attributed less importance to power, achievement,
security, conformity, and tradition values with greater gender equality. The increased individual
resources that accompany gender equality make these anxiety-based values less important
because these resources reduce uncertainty and enhance people’s ability to control threat and
to achieve desired goals (Schwartz & Sagie, 2000; Schwartz, 2006a, 2007a).
Cross-National Variation in the Size of Sex Differences
Our primary focus was cross-national variation in the size of sex differences. We
hypothesized that: (1) the inherently greater importance of benevolence and universalism
values for women augments positive effects of gender equality on these values for women
compared with men; (2) the inherently greater importance of stimulation values for men
augments positive effects of gender equality on these values for men compared with women;
and (3) the inherently greater importance of power and achievement values for men
diminishes negative effects of gender equality on these values for men compared with
women. Both studies confirmed these three hypotheses. In contrast, for the five values for
which we did not posit an inherent link to either sex, we hypothesized (4) no association of
sex differences with greater gender equality or even smaller differences. This hypothesis was
confirmed for hedonism, security, conformity, and self-direction values in both studies.
19
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
In the student study, the sex difference in self-direction values was smaller in high
gender equality countries: Men emphasized these values much more than women in low
gender equality countries, but only a little more in high gender equality countries. Why did
greater gender equality yield a smaller sex difference in self-direction values only in the
student study? Self-direction values correlate substantially with education, rising sharply at
the college level (Schwartz, 2002; Wach & Hammer, 2003). This may reflect socialization
for intellectual independence in higher education. The ratio of women to men in colleges
averaged 49/100 in the five countries lowest in gender equality in 1991 and 119/100 in the
five countries highest in gender equality.6 Where women are a clear minority on campus,
expectations that they show less independence may prevail. Where women are a majority,
such expectations could subvert the goals of education. More equal expectations for
independent thought in the colleges of high gender equality countries may explain the
smaller sex difference in self-direction values.
Unexpectedly, with greater gender equality, the importance of tradition values decreased
more, among men than women in ESS study but more among women than men in the student
study (see Table 3 and Figure 2). Women attributed more importance to tradition values at both
low and high levels of gender equality in the ESS study. In the student study, though there was
no overall sex difference, tradition values were more important to women under low gender
equality and to men under high equality. Follow-up analyses address these unexpected findings.
Two items measured tradition in the representative samples in the ESS study. Item #9
(humility and modesty) showed equally negative associations with gender equality for women
and men, as expected. Item #20 (maintaining family and religious traditions) yielded the
unexpected finding: Its negative association with gender equality was smaller for women. This
may be because women in high gender equality countries continue to take primary
responsibility for preserving family and religious traditions (Georgas, et al., 2006).
20
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
In the student study, two SVS tradition items, ‘humble’ and ‘moderate’, were the source
of the greater negative association of tradition values with gender equality for women. The
proportions of female students on college campuses may also explain this finding. In low gender
equality countries, where women are a clear minority, traditional expectations that women be
modest and humble are likely to prevail even on campus. In high gender equality countries,
with substantial proportions of women on campus, such expectations of women are likely to
lose force, especially for female students. Adding this change in the expectations of female
students to the overall drop in the importance tradition values for both sexes leads to the
stronger negative association of these two tradition items with gender equality among
women.
There was a smaller sex difference with greater societal gender equality only for one of
the five values postulated to have no inherent association with one sex. This might seem
surprising because gender equality could be expected to reduce differences in the gender role
experiences and expectations that presumably give rise to sex differences in these values. The
lack of convergence suggests that greater societal gender equality has yet to produce profound
changes in the gender role experiences and diffuse gender expectations that may influence value
importance (cf. Georgas, et al., 2006).
Replication of Findings
Both studies confirmed the hypotheses regarding associations between the size of sex
differences and gender equality for nine of the 10 values. We also ran the same HLM analyses
separately for each of the three components of the gender equality index—the 1980’s ‘index of
gender equality’, the 1990’s ‘index of gender equity’, and 1985 average family size, reversed.
The coefficients for the effects of gender equality on the sex slopes were in the same direction
as the composite index in 55 of the 60 analyses (10 values x 2 studies x 3 indicators of gender
equality). None of the five reversals was significant and all were in cases where gender equality
21
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
was hypothesized to be unrelated to the size of the sex difference. These analyses lend further
confidence to the findings with the composite gender equality index.
The two studies differed in important aspects They were based on different types of
samples (representative national vs. college student), different sets of countries (44 non-
overlapping countries), different value instruments (SVS vs. PVQ), and somewhat different
periods of data gathering (median year 2003 in Study 1, 1994 in Study 2). Moreover, the range
of societal gender equality across countries was much larger in Study 2 than in Study 1.
Considering all these differences, the findings show encouraging robustness.
Related Research on the Size of Sex Differences and Alternative Explanations
Research on traits, aspects of emotion, and mate preferences has also found variation
in the size of sex differences with increasing societal gender equality. The following section
briefly describes these findings and the alternative explanations proposed for them, and
assesses whether these explanations can account for the current findings with values.
Traits. Costa et al. (2001) found four personality traits on which women were
consistently higher than men across countries. The traits were neuroticism, agreeableness,
and two composite variables they created, ‘feminine’ extraversion (loving, sociable,
submissive, cautious, and cheerful) and ‘feminine’ openness (preferring feelings and novelty
over ideas). The size of sex differences in all four traits varied in a similar manner across
countries: Differences were generally larger in European and American than in African and
Asian samples. Costa et al. (2001) correlated the average size of sex differences in the four
traits with various country characteristics in 22-23 countries. They found larger sex
differences in countries that were wealthier, had lower women’s fertility rates, had higher
ratios of women’s to men’s literacy, and had cultures that emphasized autonomy more. In
other words, sex differences in the traits were larger in countries with greater gender equality.
This parallels our findings for five of the 10 values.
22
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Guimond et al. (2007) offered a general explanation for cross-national variation in the
size of sex differences in self-reported personality variables. They contend that people in low
gender equality (traditional) societies compare themselves with same sex others when
responding to personality questionnaires. This diminishes sex differences. In contrast, people in
more gender-equal societies are more likely to engage in cross-sex comparison, making gender
identity more salient. This presumably induces self-stereotyping in gender terms in high gender
equality societies, yielding larger gender differences in self-reported personality.
Costa, et al. (2001) offered a similar explanation based on social comparison
processes. In addition, they suggested that subtle gender differences may not be noticed in
collectivist societies where personality traits are generally less relevant. They also suggested
that gene pool differences between non-European and European countries might explain the
variation in sex effects. Finally, they speculated that even real sex differences in personality
may be obscured in traditional cultures because they are attributed to roles.
None of these explanations distinguishes among different personality variables. The
sources of sex differences they propose (social comparison, relevance of personality traits,
gene pools, attribution) would imply that sex differences should be larger with greater gender
equality for all 10 values. Findings for half the values in the current study contradict this
implication. In contrast, our theorizing successfully predicted which values would exhibit
larger sex differences with greater gender equality and which values would not.
Even for the five values predicted to show larger sex differences under higher gender
equality both by the alternative explanations and our own, our explanation makes more
refined predictions. It predicts whether the positive or negative association of a value with
gender equality is stronger for men or for women. We propose that, with greater gender
equality, the importance of a value is augmented or diminished more for the sex to which it is
inherently more important. Findings for the five values postulated to be related inherently to
23
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
one sex confirmed this implication. For example, greater gender equality was associated
more positively with benevolence for women and more negatively with power for men. The
alternative explanations do not account for sex differences in the strength of associations.
Emotions. Fischer and Manstead (2000) examined the size of sex differences in the
duration of emotional experiences, their intensity, and their nonverbal expression across 37
countries for seven emotions. The most consistent predictor of the size of sex differences in
emotions was the U.N. gender empowerment index (GEM), a measure of gender equality in a
country’s political and economic life. Sex differences in all three types of emotional reactions
were significantly larger in countries high on this index of societal gender equality than in
countries low on the index. This too parallels our finding for five of the 10 values.
Fischer and Manstead’s (2002) explanation for their finding draws upon the
substantial positive correlation between GEM and Hofstede’s individualism/collectivism
index. They suggest that the critical problem in individualistic cultures is to find a balance
between competing demands of achieving and maintaining independence, on the one hand,
and integrity of the social unit, on the other. In response to this problem, individualist
cultures socialize males to specialize in independence and females to specialize in social
relations. Males learn to experience emotions less intensely and females learn to be more
emotionally expressive in order to provide the emotionality necessary for social solidarity in
individualist cultures (i.e., countries with greater gender equality). Collectivistic cultures do
not have to create specialists because the cultural task of the individual is to adjust to
significant others and maintain interdependence. So male/female differences in emotion
reactions are smaller.7
This explanation of variation in the size of sex differences in emotions cannot explain
our findings with values. It implies that, under high gender equality, the size of sex
differences in values should be larger for values whose pursuit or expression entails stronger
24
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
emotional experiences and expressiveness. Moreover, these values should be more important
for women. There are no grounds for positing that greater emotionality is associated with the
five values that show larger sex differences under high gender equality (e.g., universalism)
than with the five values that do not (e.g., security). Moreover, men, rather than women, rate
three of the values that concern emotional experience (i.e., power, achievement, stimulation)
more important.
Mate preferences. Two studies have reported that gender differences in mate
preferences converge as societies provide women more reproductive freedom and higher
educational equality (Eagly & Wood, 1999; Kasser & Sharma, 1999). Across societies,
women more than men prefer mates who can provide resources (e.g., status, financial
security). Women’s preference for such mates decreases, however, as social conditions give
them more control over their own destiny, whereas men’s preferences are unaffected. Thus,
the sex difference decreases with greater gender equality. This is opposite to the increase in
sex differences that have been documented previously for traits (Costa et al., 2001) and for
emotions (Fischer & Manstead, 2002), and that this study documents for five personal
values. Social role theory can explain the mate preferences finding as due to women’s
increased ability to acquire resources themselves with greater role equality, rather than
requiring mates who can provide resources. An evolutionary-interactionist view could argue
that women have an evolved psychological mechanism to prefer mates who can provide
resources, but this mechanism is activated less strongly in a context that enables them to
attain resources themselves.
Mate preferences are characteristics one seeks in others, not characteristics of one’s
own personality. So the finding of a pattern of variation in the size of sex differences
opposite to that for own traits, emotions, and five values is not problematic. Women’s greater
preference than men’s for mates of high status and wealth implies that women attribute more
25
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
importance to power values in their mates than men do. This is compatible with the
evolutionary explanation we proposed for men’s greater valuing of power—power gives men
an advantage in competing for mates.
Applying our explanation to traits and emotions. Researchers have presented separate
explanations for cross-national variation in the size of sex differences in own traits, emotions,
and values. We have shown that the explanations for traits and emotions do not fit values.
We now speculate that our explanation for values might fit traits and emotions. All of the
relevant traits and emotions analyzed by Costa et al. (2001) and by Fischer and Manstead
(2000) were stronger among women than men, and all of the sex differences were greater in
more gender-equal societies. To fit our explanation, these traits and emotions should also all
be associated inherently more with being female than male. If so, women would express
them more freely as societal gender equality increases, leading to larger sex differences. Are
there grounds to infer that these traits and emotions are inherently more female?
Costa, et al. (2001) specified four traits, neuroticism, agreeableness, ‘feminine’
extraversion and ‘feminine’ openness. Neuroticism refers largely to negative emotionality, as
did six of the seven emotions that Fischer and Manstead (2000) studied. Evolutionary and
social role theory reasoning can support the claim of stronger inherent emotionality among
females. Women make a larger parental investment than men and are therefore more likely to
evolve patterns of behavior that will enable their child to reach reproductive age. Emotional
sensitivity and expressiveness are such behaviors. They are critical for maintaining close
interpersonal ties in extended families, thereby contributing to successful child-rearing.
Moreover, women’s role in reproduction and caring, grounded in their ability to gestate,
gives them more direct nurturing experience in which emotional sensitivity and
expressiveness are central.
26
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
The evolutionary and social role arguments that support a view of emotionality as
inherently more characteristic of women also apply to the ‘feminine’ openness trait, to the
agreeableness trait, and to the ‘feminine’ extraversion trait that Costa, et al. (2001) specified.
The two strong positive facets of ‘feminine’ openness, feelings and aesthetics, both refer to
emotional sensitivity, whereas the one negative facet, ideas, does not. The feelings facet
measures receptiveness to inner feelings and experiencing emotions deeply. The aesthetics
facet measures being moved by art, music, poetry, and beauty. The emotionality explanation
applies less well to the weak positive facet, actions. Agreeableness is critical for building and
maintaining close, supportive, family relationships and for successful nurturing, activities
crucial and more common for women according to the evolutionary and social role
approaches. The behaviors described by the three positive facets of ‘feminine’ extraversion
(warmth, gregariousness, and positive emotions) are critical for the same purposes, but those
described by the negative facets (assertiveness and excitement seeking) would be disruptive.
In sum, the ideas that explain cross-national variation in the size of sex-differences in
values may also parsimoniously explain almost all the findings of cross-national variation in
the size of sex-differences in one’s own traits and emotions. Our explanation, unlike the
alternatives, predicts divergence between the sexes with greater societal gender equality only
for personality variables that are inherently associated with one sex, not for all personality
variables. The one trait that showed no pattern of divergence in Costa, et al. (2001) was
‘conscientiousness’. Fitting our explanation, the major components of this trait, dependability
and hard work, are critical for the distinctive activities of both sexes. Hence, neither
evolutionary nor social role reasoning imply an inherent link to one or the other sex.
Strengths and Limitations
Several strengths of the current research merit mention. This research innovates in
several ways. First, it studies relations of sex differences to gender equality for all 10 basic
27
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
values. Second, it develops and assesses a theory that makes different predictions for different
values. Unlike past studies of personality variables, it does not assume that sex differences vary
with societal characteristics in the same way for all values. Third, it addresses variation in sex
differences across representative national samples from 25 countries, expanding on the 19 in
Schwartz and Rubel (2005). It also tests the robustness of the findings and the theorizing by
replicating the analyses with a different instrument to measure values and across student
samples from 68 countries that differ substantially on characteristics relevant to gender
equality. Finally, it uses indexes of values for which equivalence of meaning, reliability, and
validity in predicting attitudes and behavior have been established and it employs a more
reliable index of societal gender equality than previous studies.
A possible limitation of Study 2 is use of data obtained over a 17-year period, making
the findings vulnerable to period effects. To assess such effects, we added the year of data
gathering to the HLM analyses. This did not change the findings for divergence, parallel
change, or convergence in the size of sex differences for any of the values.
Methodological Issues and Implications
Critics of using self-report data for cross-cultural comparisons note that respondents
tend to compare themselves with familiar others when answering self-report items, the so-
called ‘reference group effect’ (e.g., Peng, Nisbett & Wong, 1997). If this occurs, the
standard of comparison will differ in each society. Hence, group mean differences will not
reflect valid cross-cultural differences. This does not appear to be a problem in the current
research. The self-report formats of our value instruments minimize social comparison. They
elicit the importance of each value relative to all of the individual’s own values, a within-person
comparison. Moreover, we center individuals’ responses on their own mean response to all
value items. This transforms absolute value ratings into value priorities and gives each person in
28
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
each country the same mean of zero. It provides a within-person standard of comparison that
does not vary across countries.
The predictability and meaningfulness of the current findings are relevant not only to
sex differences. They also support aggregation of self-reported values to describe national or
other culture group differences. They add to tens of meaningful associations between
aggregated national value scores and other country characteristics (e.g., Schwartz, 2004,
2006b, 2007a, 2007b). Together, these findings show that the ‘reference group effect’ is not a
critical source of distortion in indexes of self-reported values based on the SVS and PVQ.
An interesting implication of the current research is that gender equality may
contribute to gender diversity rather than to gender similarity, at least in some areas. Greater
equality appears to promote the freer expression of values that are inherently important for
women (e.g., benevolence) or for men (e.g., stimulation). This runs contrary to a simplified
reading of both role theory and evolutionary psychology as suggesting that greater gender
equality necessarily leads to more gender similarity.
This article has focused on cross-national variation in the size of sex differences in
values. The magnitude of these differences varied substantially across countries. To keep
things in perspective, it is critical to remember that correlations of each of the values with
societal differences in gender equality and its components were in the same direction for both
men and women. Thus, the sex differences discussed here should be viewed within a wider
context of gender similarity.
29
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
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Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Table 1.
Ten Basic Values in the Schwartz (1992) Model
Value Defining Motivational Goal Exemplary Items
Power Social status and prestige, control or
dominance over people and resources
authority, wealth, controlling
others, social power
Achievement Personal success through demonstrating
competence according to social standards
success, ambition, and
admiration for one’s abilities
Hedonism Pleasure, sensuous gratification pleasure, enjoying life, fun,
‘spoiling’ oneself
Stimulation Excitement, novelty, and challenge in life exciting life, adventure, risk,
daring
Self-Direction Independent thought and action-choosing,
creating, exploring
creativity, freedom,
independence, curiosity
Universalism Understanding, appreciation, tolerance
and protection for the welfare of all
people and nature
social justice, equality,
wisdom, world peace,
protecting the environment
Benevolence Preservation and enhancement of the
welfare of people with whom one is close
helpful, caring, loyal,
supportive
Tradition Respect, commitment and acceptance of
traditional and religious customs and ideas
respect for tradition, humility,
devoutness, modesty
Conformity Restraint of actions, inclinations, and
impulses likely to upset or harm others or
violate social norms
following rules, obedience,
honoring parents and elders
Security Safety, harmony and stability of society,
of relationships, and of self
family security, social order,
cleanliness, avoiding danger
34
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Table 2.
Predicting Sex Differences and Value Means with Gender Equality Index across Countries
for Values on which Sexes Presumably Differ Inherently
Value
HLM Coefficients (std. error)
Sex Slope: Gender Equality Effects
Effect on on Value on Sex
Value Mean Mean Slope
Nature of Change in
Value Importance as
Gender Equality Increases
ESS
Benevolence .214***(.014) .085** (.025) .052***(.011) Women increase more D
Universalism .150***(.011) .062***(.016) .030* (.013) Women increase more D
Power -.239***(.019) -.112***(.026) -.063** (.019) Men decrease less D
Achievement -.209***(.019) -.138***(.027) -.027 (.017) Men decrease slightly less
D
Stimulation -.147***(.017) .095***(.018) -.038** (.011) Men increase more D
Students
Benevolence .130***(.013) .099***(.023) .046***(.012) Women increase more D
Universalism .087***(.018) .068* (.028) .072***(.021) Women increase more D
Power -.039***(.023) -.127***(.040) -.086***(.020) Men decrease less D
Achievement -.094***(.014) -.091** (.030) -.034** (.013) Men decrease less D
Stimulation -.184***(.026) .276***(.047) -.060* (.030) Men increase more D
***p<.001, **p<.01, *p<.05.
HLM = Hierarchical linear model. D = Value means diverge; C = Value means converge.
ESS = Representative national samples from 25 countries, controlling age and education.
Students = College student samples from 68 countries.
35
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Table 3.
Predicting Sex Differences and Value Means with Gender Equality Index across Countries
for Values on which Sexes Presumably Do Not Differ Inherently
Value
HLM Coefficients (std. error)
Sex Slope: Gender Equality Effects
Effect on on Value on Sex
Value Mean Mean Slope
Nature of Change in
Value Importance as
Gender Equality Increases
ESS
Conformity .027 (.017) -.019 (.036) -.007 (.016) Both unchanged
Tradition .156***(.011) -.153***(.023) .017* (.007) Both decrease, men more
women less D
Security .171***(.010) -.128* (.054) .001 (.012) Sexes decrease equally
Self-Direction -.083***(.011) .121***(.020) .013 (.009) Sexes increase equally
Hedonism -.120***(.023) .154***(.039) .014 (.023) Sexes increase equally
Students
Conformity -.015 (.021) -.390***(.035) .001 (.019) Sexes decrease equally
Tradition -.010 (.021) -.433***(.051) -.075***(.021) Both decrease, women
more men less D
Security .044** (.016) -.216***(.031) -.033 (.018) Sexes decrease equally
Self-Direction -.079***(.015) .216***(.029) .030* (.014) Women increase more C
Hedonism -.258***(.031) .469***(.052) .006 (.013) Sexes increase equally
***p<.001, **p<.01, *p<.05.
HLM = Hierarchical linear model. D = Value means diverge; C = Value means converge.
ESS = Representative national samples from 25 countries, controlling age and education.
Students = College student samples from 68 countries.
36
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Figure Captions
Figure 1. Importance that women and men attribute to benevolence and power values as a
function of national gender equality (standardized): (1a) Benevolence in Study 1—ESS, (1b)
Power in Study 2—Students.
Figure 2. Importance that men and women attribute to tradition values as a function of
national gender equality (standardized): (2a) Study 1—ESS, (2b) Study 2—Students
37
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
38
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
39
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Ge n d e r Equalit y Gen d e r Equ a lit y
+1
σ
+1
σ
-1
σ
-1
σ
Tradit i o n Value s ESS Tradit i o n Value s St udent s
40
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Footnotes
1. 1We use the terms sex differences and sex effects to describe the results of comparing
people grouped into female and male categories. The term gender refers to the meanings
ascribed to these female and male categories. However, we use ‘gender’ when we present
views and findings from publications that used this term.
2. The cultural autonomy index is a factor score based on the loadings of the Schwartz (2004,
2006a) culture dimensions of autonomy/embeddedness and egalitarianism/hierarchy and the
Inglehart and Baker (2000) dimension of survival/self-expression.
3. We thank the many people who gathered the Study 2 data as part of a project organized by
the first author: Charity Akotia, Hasan Bacanli, Krassimira Baytchinska, Gabriel Bianchi,
Marim Bilalic, Klaus Boehnke, Engelina Bonang, Michael Bond, Bartolo Campos, M.
Martina Casullo, Patrick Chiroro, Renee Mayorga Chavez, Jose Luis Cossio, Kenneth Dion,
Karen Dion, J.-B. Dupont, Norman Feather, Johnny Fontaine, Kathy Frost, Adrian Furnham,
Wei-Zhi Gang, Francis Gendre, James Georgas, Rosalba Giacopino, Hector Grad, Andreas
Gronningsaeter, Aydan Gulerce, Hidekazu Hakoi, Beatrice Hammer, Gyu-seog Han, Judy
Howard, Sipke Huismans, Sumiko Iwao, Maria Jarymowicz, Jordana Jovanovic, David Karp,
Uichol Kim, Goran Knezevic, Alexandre Kurc, Dan Landes, Nadezhda Lebedeva, Mei-Chi
Li, Isabel Menezes, Paulo Mercado, Gerold Mikula, Kyrre Moen, Mesfin Samuel Mulato,
John Munene, Regmi Murari, Kathleen Myambo, George Nidharadze, Toomas Niit, ‘Sola
Olowu, Michalis Papadopoulos, Darja Piciga, Deepa Punetha, Joseph Puyat, Mark Radford,
Sonia Roccas, Maria Ros, Viera Rozova, Jose Saiz, Jose Miguel Salazar, Aliou Sall, Manfred
Schmitt, Loraine Scholtz, Shalom Schwartz, Renuka Sethi, Carlos Sousa, Dario Spini, Jan
Srnec, Silvia Susnijc, B. James Starr, Osamu Takagi, Alvaro Tamayo, Giancarlo Tanucci,
Ilina Todorova, Harry Triandis, Shripati Uphadhyaya, Zsuzsa Vajda, Erika van der Watern,
Markku Verkasalo, Monique Wach, Colleen Ward, Marie Wissing, Roderick Fulata Zimba,
41
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
and two others whose names we are not free to reveal.
4. Numbers of men and women in some countries differ from those in Schwartz and Rubel
(2005) because we used a later dataset (ESS1 edition 6.0, published 19.12.06).
5. Value means and standard deviations for men and women in each sample are available
from the authors.
6. Data downloaded on July 10, 2008 from:
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_rat_of_fem_to_mal_enr_in_ter_edu-ratio-female-
male-enrollments-tertiary&date=1991. This is the most appropriate year for which data are
available for most of the countries in the student study.
7. A weakness of this explanation is the fact that the index of gender equality in roles (GEM)
was a stronger, more consistent predictor of the size of sex differences than the index of
cultural individualism/collectivism. Yet the latter was the basis of the explanation. In the
current study, individualism did not predict the size of sex differences in values whereas the
index of gender equality did.
42
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Appendix A: Sample Sizes and Gender Equality Index Scores for Countries in Both Studies
Student Samples ESS Samples Gender Equality
Country Men Women Men Women Student ESS
Argentina 148 203 0.21
Australia 99 128 1.24
Austria 38 75 1054 1156 0.77 -0.08
Belgium 115 377 928 868 1.17 0.49
Bosnia 61 172 0.55
Brazil 267 315 -0.66
Bulgaria 184 226 0.47
Cameroon 54 40 -1.29
Canada 166 291 1.11
Chile 129 205 -0.61
China 169 231 -0.93
Costa Rica 47 89 -0.31
Croatia 76 122 0.75
Cyprus 70 68 -0.11
Czech Republic 80 80 600 610 1.01 0.29
Denmark 742 715 1.50
Egypt 37 96 -1.74
Estonia 131 240 794 1137 1.01 0.27
Ethiopia 66 31 -0.87
Finland 531 618 823 935 1.87 1.54
France 230 379 632 695 0.91 0.16
Georgia 76 129 0.52
Germany East 482 705 278 271 1.02 0.36
Germany West 432 630 1041 1210 1.10 0.39
Ghana 112 98 -0.74
Greece 65 244 1065 1389 0.36 -0.64
Hong Kong 252 338 0.15
Hungary 125 197 742 822 0.86 0.12
India 25 88 -1.77
Indonesia 63 200 -1.10
Ireland 102 129 831 1011 0.05 -1.17
Israel (Jews) 208 226 612 703 0.12 -0.98
Italy 187 494 0.52
Japan 846 549 -0.67
Korea South 79 134 -0.74
Macedonia 46 153 0.26
43
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Appendix A (continued)
Student Samples ESS Samples Gender Equality
Country Men Women Men Women Student ESS
Malaysia 79 122 -0.90
Mexico 53 91 -0.46
Namibia 132 116 -0.36
Nepal 505 234 -2.00
Netherlands 242 249 1059 1252 1.26 0.58
New Zealand 75 125 0.89
Nigeria 56 44 -1.92
Norway 137 187 953 854 1.59 1.13
Peru 127 114 -0.66
Philippines 291 443 -0.69
Poland 90 429 958 1019 0.52 -0.38
Portugal 54 143 618 780 0.22 -0.51
Romania 82 105 0.53
Russia 62 180 0.43
South Africa 94 132 -0.47
Senegal 111 33 -1.61
Singapore 151 207 -0.17
Slovakia 122 312 693 696 0.73 -0.06
Slovenia 97 115 655 734 0.40 -0.56
Spain 63 173 770 868 0.52 -0.48
Sweden 140 165 815 859 2.02 1.77
Switzerland 114 259 996 1012 0.61 -0.19
Taiwan 40 94 -0.28
Thailand 107 322 -0.42
Turkey 38 70 717 878 -1.24 -3.09
Uganda 141 42 -0.49
Ukraine 207 512 703 1177 0.21 -0.77
United Kingdom 54 97 841 908 1.05 0.30
USA 903 1189 1.15
Venezuela 45 126 -0.59
Yemen 114 82 -2.75
Yugoslavia 73 275 -0.28
Zimbabwe 106 96 -1.29
44
Gender Equality and Sex Differences in Values
Appendix B: Value Items Used in Study 1 (ESS)
Key
SD 1 Thinking up new ideas and being creative is important to him. He likes to do things
in his own original way.
PO 2 It is important to him to be rich. He wants to have a lot of money and expensive
things.
UN 3 He thinks it is important that every person in the world be treated equally. He
believes everyone should have equal opportunities in life.
AC 4 It's important to him to show his abilities. He wants people to admire what he does.
SE 5 It is important to him to live in secure surroundings. He avoids anything that might
endanger his safety.
ST 6 He likes surprises and is always looking for new things to do. He thinks it is
important to do lots of different things in life.
CO 7 He believes that people should do what they're told. He thinks people should follow
rules at all times, even when no-one is watching.
UN 8 It is important to him to listen to people who are different from him. Even when he
disagrees with them, he still wants to understand them.
TR 9 It is important to him to be humble and modest. He tries not to draw attention to
himself.
HE 10 Having a good time is important to him. He likes to “spoil” himself.
SD 11 It is important to her to make her own decisions about what she does. She likes to be
free and not depend on others.
BE 12 It's very important to her to help the people around her. She wants to care for their
well-being.
AC 13 Being very successful is important to her. She hopes people will recognize her
achievements.
SE 14 It is important to her that the government insure her safety against all threats. She
wants the state to be strong so it can defend its citizens.
ST 15 She looks for adventures and likes to take risks. She wants to have an exciting life.
CO 16 It is important to her always to behave properly. She wants to avoid doing anything
people would say is wrong.
PO 17 It is important to her to get respect from others. She wants people to do what she
says.
BE 18 It is important to her to be loyal to her friends. She wants to devote herself to people
close to her.
UN 19 She strongly believes that people should care for nature. Looking after the
environment is important to her.
TR 20 Tradition is important to her. She tries to follow the customs handed down by her
religion or her family.
HE 21 She seeks every chance she can to have fun. It is important to her to do things that
give her pleasure.
Key: AC=achievement, BE=benevolence, CO=conformity, HE=hedonism, PO=power,
SD=self-direction, SE=security, ST=stimulation, TR=tradition, UN=universalism
45
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For a number of years now, I have been interested in the conceptual analysis and investigation of human values. I began a program of research that commenced in the late 1960s and has continued ever since. In this program, I have looked at a wide range of topics that include the measurement of values and value systems, similarities and differences in value priorities across different segments of Australian society and across different cultures, the comparison of value systems between parents and their children, the value priorities of special groups such as juvenile offenders and student activists, the relationship between attitudes and values, and the consequences for the person of discrepancies between personal value systems and the value systems that defined environments such as the school or the work situation are perceived to promote. The results of the first phase of my work in this area were brought together in Values in Education and Society (Feather, 1975), a book that was particularly concerned with studies that mapped values in different groups and with studies that investigated the effects of person-environment discrepancies in value systems. The program of research has continued to be an active one. Since the 1975 book, I have built on the foundations laid down in that volume and have also followed some new directions.
Article
We examine gender differences in the fundamental value orientations of U.S. adolescents. We focus on concern with finding purpose and meaning in life and the basis on which meaning is derived, including connection to others and contribution to their well-being, and economic success that involves embracing the market values of materialism and competition. We develop three measures of value orientation: (1) compassion, which reflects concern and responsibility for the well-being of others; (2) materialism, which reflects emphasis on material benefit and competition; and (3) meaning, which reflects philosophical concern with finding purpose and meaning in life. We find substantial gender differences on all three measures. Females in our sample are more likely than males to express concern and responsibility for the well-being of others, less likely than males to accept materialism and competition, and more likely than males to indicate that finding purpose and meaning in life is extremely important. These differences are observed throughout the period from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s and show little sign of decreasing; they are evident across social class subgroups and cannot be explained by gender differences in religiosity or the perceived availability of social support.
Article
In western societies influenced by Christianity, women are more religious than men on virtually every measure. If religion is rooted (as Marx suggested) in economic vulnerability, can the religiosity of women be explained by economic or social circumstances? Or what about the vulnerability of the physical body - can women's religiosity be explained by their greater contact with birth and death? If modernity entails the progressive eradication of all kinds of vulnerability, what might this mean for the future of religion in general and of women's religiosity in particular? And what further twists to the story might postmodernity add? The article uses these questions as a frame for reviewing the literature on women's religiosity in the modern West.
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Using data from a nationally representative panel study, I examine change and stability in job values across the young adult years. I find that on average, young people attach lessening importance to various job rewards during the transition to adulthood. In addition, job values become increasingly stable (individual differences are increasingly maintained) during young adulthood, though they continue to change as a function of the rewards received at work. I find no gender differences in the way job rewards shape values, although gender differences in job values exist.